Hiroko Oyamada's award-winning debut novel, "The Factory," measures out in terse detail an indictment of contemporary work culture. Set in modern Japan where the norms of underpay and overwork are well-known, the novella evokes the worst of the Silicon Valley-type tech campuses and asks the question: How can we find meaning if the meaningless directs our days?

The Factory, by Hiroko Oyamada, Translated by David Boyd.128 pagesNEW DIRECTIONS PUBLISHING, Fiction.

Told from three intertwining perspectives, Oyamada presents various aspects of work society. Despite being referred to constantly as "the factory," nothing actually seems to be produced within the self-contained colossal complex in which the novel is set. It boasts a sprawling array of buildings complete with housing for upper level staff, a forest and a bridge that spans a vast stretch of water. The workers we are introduced to are not industrial ones, but are instead caught up in the corporate machinery of tedium.