Temporary by Hilary Leichter


Eighteen boyfriends, twenty-three jobs, and one ghost who occasionally pops in to give advice: Temporary casts a hilarious and tender eye toward the struggle for happiness under late capitalism.

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In Temporary, a young woman’s workplace is the size of the world. She fills increasingly bizarre placements in search of steadiness, connection, and something, at last, to call her own. Whether it’s shining an endless closet of shoes, swabbing the deck of a pirate ship, assisting an assassin, or filling in for the Chairman of the Board, for the mythical Temporary, “there is nothing more personal than doing your job.”

This riveting quest, at once hilarious and profound, will resonate with anyone who has ever done their best at work, even when the work is only temporary.

“Temporary is funny, challenging, and provocative, but it’s also very much a novel with a straightforward and well-executed structure… Its portrayal of the absurdities of the gig economy, millennial aimlessness, loneliness, and workplace culture will resonate deeply with generations X through Z while remaining deeply unique and enigmatic. Affectionately dubbed “Speedboat for millennials,” Temporary captures the specific commercial and emotional ennui of our time, reflecting our collective struggle for happiness in late capitalism back at us with an absurdist twist.”


“A brisk, wildly imaginative first novel. . . . Leichter’s deeper interest is in mining how transient, insecure work inflects our private life—if it even permits a private life. Can we afford to stop working? Do we remember how?” —New York Times


“[A] surreal extreme of gig economy slacker fiction. . . . Leichter’s novel is emotionally convincing not just because of its narrative, but because of the linguistic dislocation that proves its premise. Language flips like it’s about to fall off the edge of the world.” —Guernica

Temporary by Hilary Leichter