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A riveting investigation of the utopian experiments attempting to resist the unrelenting demands of late-stage capitalism—only to end up living comfortably alongside it

What do post‑work politics, the cult of crypto, clubbing, and polyamory have in common? All have spawned thriving subcultures united in their rejection of the patriarchal capitalist order: from wage labor, to the reign of the shareholder class over capital markets, to romantic relationships that feel like contractual arrangements to be negotiated, and more.

People Who Lunch is about hating work and needing to work, intimacy and technology, labor and leisure, and the challenge of living our ideals in a less than ideal world. In it, Sally Olds brings her “unsparing scrutiny to bear…as she grapples with the sense of entrapment in the machinery of capitalism and remorseless logic of commodification” (ABC Arts).

In one essay, Olds’s brief flirtation with post-monogamy forces her to confront the emotional prison of the “open relationship”; in another, a multi-hour viewing of a critically acclaimed performance art piece highlights how even the highest forms of culture exist to convert pleasure into capital.

In the end, her forays into these colorful worlds betray a deep irony: escaping a system built on the exchange of wage labor is, quite simply, a lot of work.

Meet The Author: Sally Olds

Sally Olds is an Australian writer based in Melbourne. Her work has been published by Sydney Review of Books, un Magazine, AQNB, and the Institute of Modern Art, collected in anthologies, and shortlisted for the Griffith Review’s Emerging Voices Competition and the Sydney Review of Books / Copyright Agency’s Emerging Critics Fellowship. People Who Lunch was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. More of her writing can be found at theparisend.substack.com.

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