I ended up reading it one sitting because it was one of those books you literally cannot put down. The stories in this collection are smart and imaginative and strange and fearless in their execution. It is readily evident why this book won the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction. A great deal of care and handling went into these stories ... In each of these stories, Nutting is, above all making beautiful sense of the human condition ... The balance between the unfamiliar and impossible with the familiar is what makes Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls such a great book ... You should definitely check this book out. It will take you places and teach you things.
...[a] lively, well-imagined, and jaw-droppingly smart prize-winning debut ... imagine Donald Barthelme writing smart feminine narratives, Mary Gaitskill sans the kinky sex, or Margaret Atwood turning to dry, Colbert-style humor, and you may start to get an idea of what to expect ... Each story catapults the reader into the wicked world of Nutting’s witty imagination ... Yet, in spite of the sometimes impressionistic, sometimes realist, sometimes naïve-painting-inspired settings, the characters remain painfully familiar ... Nutting is especially brilliant when revealing the dysfunctional layers of her characters’ otherwise glib and (mostly) carefree lives ... Unclean Jobs harnesses this type of Jerry Springer drama to bring humor and postmodern insights to these action-packed short stories ... Alissa Nutting’s fiction more than satisfies.
Perverted and beautiful, these stories deal with the shame of having bodies, and the ways in which we use them to corrupt each other ... The stories are boozy, unnerving, and funny. If Mary Gaitskill and Julio Cortázar together birthed a piglet, it could very well be this collection ... What I find important about Nutting's work is the abandonment of rules, of any boundaries placed on a text by genre. It isn't about 'magical realism' or 'science fiction' so much as it is about bored bodies leaking in the afternoon.
Nutting steps into this party laughing and on fire, disturbing generations of style and finely honed observations and devouring the party-goers along with the hors d’oeuvres ... It's the best party in years ... Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls subverts generations of moral guidance by dives into possible female 'professions' ... Other contemporary writers have worked with this surrealist approach, but none have done it so well as Nutting ... Nutting’s stories ecstatically break down realist boundaries ... Many story collections provide charm without resilience. Almost ten years after its first release, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls revels in its longevity.
The one thing that struck me the most about this collection of short stories is the honesty displayed by the characters and the writing. Nothing is sugar coated and that is disturbingly delicious ... At times I had to throw my hand over my mouth at what I read, stunned, but that moment allowed me to get past the unconventional and look deeper into the heart of the character. These stories will make you feel an overwhelming and odd combination of feelings ... I have never read anything or anyone like Alissa Nutting and that equally terrifies and excites me. It is a rarity in this world to find something that is written with such fearlessness.
[Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls] earns its distinction with its candid and fearless style. Nutting takes a pinch of fairy tale’s matter-of-fact language, a dash of minimalism’s simple sentence structure, and a soupçon of fabulism’s absurdity to concoct a strangely familiar world in which women navigate the mottled bog of feminine identity ... Nutting demonstrates her uncanny ability to cut right through the horror and absurdity of our lives, right down to the bone of humanity.