Do we choose the job or does the job choose us?
In his first collection of short stories, Adam Thorpe, acclaimed poet and novelist, explores the lives of his characters through the work they do: the jobs that empower or enslave, define or destroy them. Whether it is a dustman or a craftsman, on an English production line or deep in the forests of Africa, work is seen as a means of social classification, an engine of prejudice or compassion or as an arena where bullying and subservience have some kind of legitimacy. Do we choose the job or does the job choose us, Adam Thorpe asks: does the job become us or do we become the job? Using the framework of occupation, its mundane tedium, its strictures and releases, we are shown the unquenchable vitality of the human spirit: its continual capacity for a life beyond. Told with vivid energy and a poet's delight in language, Shifts confirms Adam Thorpe as one of the most talented writers of his generation.