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Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of Jennifer Close's Girls in White Dresses comes “a pin-sharp, utterly addictive debut” (Vogue UK) told in vignettes that speak to a new generation not trying to have it all but hoping to make sense of it all.  

“Everyone’s been talking about this book.... Charming and funny, this read is simply delightful.” (Bustle)

“A deadpan comic debut for the procrastination generation.” (The Guardian)

Claire Flannery has just quit her office job, hoping to take some time to discover her real passion. The problem is, she's not exactly sure how to go about finding it. Without the distractions of a regular routine, Claire confronts the best and worst parts of herself: the generous, attentive part that visits her grandmother for tea and cooks special meals for her boyfriend, Luke, and the part that she feels will never measure up and makes regrettable comments after too many glasses of wine. What emerges is a candid, moving portrait of a clear-eyed heroine trying to forge her own way, a wholly relatable character whose imperfections and uncanny observations highlight what makes us all different and yet inescapably linked.  

Praise for Not Working

“Ruefully funny...features a kind of millennial Bridget Jones whose red wine-and-TED Talk-fueled pursuit of a higher purpose in life leads to hard truths and hangovers.” (Vogue)

“In this laugh-out-loud debut, Claire Flannery is a lost soul who quits her day job to discover her true passion. In taking a hard look at her own character, Claire finds that her loveable qualities are sometimes squashed by mistakes, like the evenings she blurts inappropriate remarks after too many glasses of wine. [Lisa] Owens’s story is a smart, relatable and delicious debut.” (Harper’s Bazaar)

“It’s no mean feat to fashion a novel out of the stuff of everyday life.... Fortunately, Owens is quite a writer.... Not Working works because there is lots going on beneath its placid, ordinary surface.... With this funny, serious debut, Lisa Owens has proved that she’s one to watch.” (The New Statesman)

©2016 Lisa Owens (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Full of crackling, voice-of-a-generation observations." [Glamour (UK)]

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Listen to this again and again

I have to say I've loved this book since I first heard an abridged version of it on Radio 4. When I bought the audiobook I was initially disappointed that it had a different narrator from the radio production, but I soon came to prefer Tuppence Middleton's performance. She doesn't just read the book but truly performs it, making an already good book superb.

"Not Working" is more a series of vignettes told from the main character's point of view than an actual story, but it works surprisingly well. I've lost track of the number of times I've listened to this book – I usually dip into it when I want to lighten my mood. There's just something about the combination of the author's spot-on observations and Middleton's performance that makes me happy. It just might make you happy, too.

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Just okay.

Story jumped around too much. Has a character who displays bizarre behaviors and mood swings. At times it feels as though she's suffering with anxiety and depression. Overall, just okay.

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