Shortlisted for The International Booker Prize 2021
Winner of a Fondation Jan Michalski Award
A powerful and philosophical sci-fi experiment from a near-distant future, exploring what it means to be human and alive ★★★★★★ Børsen
As beautiful as it gets: Beauty and longing in the infinite universe ★★★★★★ Berlingske
An unsettling, endlessly dizzying work ★★★★★ Politiken
The near-distant future. Millions of kilometres from Earth.
The crew of the Six-Thousand ship consists of those who were born, and those who were created. Those who will die, and those who will not. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew is perplexed to find itself becoming deeply attached to them, and human and humanoid employees alike find themselves longing for the same things: warmth and intimacy. Loved ones who have passed. Our shared, far-away Earth, which now only persists in memory.
Gradually, the crew members come to see themselves in a new light, and each employee is compelled to ask themselves whether their work can carry on as before – and what it means to be truly alive.
Structured as a series of witness statements compiled by a workplace commission, Ravn’s crackling prose is as chilling as it is moving, as exhilarating as it is foreboding. Wracked by all kinds of longing, The Employees probes into what it means to be human, emotionally and ontologically, while simultaneously delivering an overdue critique of a life governed by work, capitalist structures and the logic of productivity.
OLGA RAVN (b. 1986) is a Danish novelist and poet. Her novel Celestine appeared to critical acclaim in 2015. She is also a literary critic and has written for Politiken and several other Danish publications. Alongside Johanne Lykke Holm, she runs the feminist performance group and writing school Hekseskolen.