“My Work is Not Yet Done” is a collection of one novella and two short stories set in hellish corporate worlds. Ligotti is a bleak writer with a pessimist’s point of view. He sees darkness, despair as omnipresent in this world. However depressed a reader may feel before starting Ligotti’s books, before the end they will realise a sense of kinship and know that they are not alone. His style is unusual in that he will repeat the same sentiments again and again barely changing the sentences before reproducing them. Using this method and the inescapable bleakness of his settings he can immerse the reader into a looping nightmare. When the final word is read and you escape the nightmare you may either know that life is not worth living or breathe a sense of relief that however tough your life might be it is punctuated with sparks of joy that should be treasured. I tend to experience the latter and I find Ligotti’s stories therapeutic, but never uplifting.
His description is a knife that slices through thin facades to reveal the darkness beneath. His philosophy is writ large throughout and one wonders whether the author could have survived without the outlet of writing.
A couple of phrases spoke to me.
“The company that employed me strived only to serve up the cheapest fare that its customers would tolerate, churn it out as fast as possible, and charge as much as they can get away with. If it were possible to do so, the company would sell what all businesses of its kind dream about selling, creating that which all our efforts were tacitly supposed to achieve: the ultimate product – Nothing. And for this product they would command the ultimate price – Everything.”
“We’re just pictures painted on the darkness.”
Do not read Ligotti to escape. Instead read him to immerse yourself in darkness and survive, proving your strength and revealing your nature to yourself. For those who enjoy facing the dark nature of humanity, and the meaningless destruction of self and the world under Capitalism, this will provide an excellent and thought-provoking read. If you want to avoid facing the inherent evil in our lives give this one a wide berth.