'Temporary,' Debut Novel by Alumna and Faculty Member Hilary Leichter Drops in March

BY Audrey Deng, February 19, 2020

Alumna and Adjunct Assistant Professor Hilary Leichter ’12 debuts her novel, Temporary, releasing on March 3 from Coffee House Press. Temporary is Leichter’s funny, absurdist novel about capitalist society taken to a dreamlike extreme.

The novel’s title draws its name from its narrator’s ephemeral position in the workplace. According to Publishers Weekly, “The narrator is a temporary—an employee of the world, whose temp agency can place people in different jobs, from the banal (basic office work) to the incredibly unlikely (subbing in for a barnacle by clinging to a rock). She has 18 unnamed boyfriends, who bond in her apartment while she is gone.”

Alumna Xuan Juliana Wang ’11 blurbed Temporary: “A profound, devastating, and unforgettable book of wonders. Devour Temporary in one sitting so you can join the feverish club of people who love this book!”

Professor Ben Marcus also praised Leichter’s book, calling it “...a demented, de-tuned love song for the working life. Hilary Leichter possesses the brute force of language and imagination to create ultra-vivid worlds, suffused with an eerie weirdo beauty. It is Leichter’s brilliance that these invented worlds reflect so directly, blindingly, on the secret, mythical workings of our own.”

The book has received glowing reviews from the press as well. In a review, Paperback Paris describes Temporary as “[...] truly unlike any book I’ve read before. The characters, the plot, the prose, and the puns are all works of wacky genius that will leave you in complete awe and utter jealousy.”


You can read a piece by Leichter, also called “Temporary,” on n+1.


Leichter’s writing has appeared in n+1, the New Yorker, the Cut, the Southern Review, and elsewhere. She has taught fiction at Columbia University and has been awarded fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.