Colin Winnette – The Job of the Wasp


The Job of the Wasp is a strange little novel. It’s one full of twists and turns, unreliable narrators and a body count that would make any horror director rub his hands with glee.

It all starts when the narrator is enrolled into a school. He immediately is disliked by his peers and teacher, with only the headmaster on his side. When put on garden duty he discovers a body.

From then onwards us readers are confused about the proceeedings. The narrator comes up theories on this dead person but then more corpses appear, which my mean that the main protagonist is actually murdering his peers and is trying to make things up. Further on in the book he is kidnapped by a group of students and submitted to a sort of gang fight. When he escapes he finds out that more people have died and that he has to escape.

The Job of the Wasp is at turns Kafkaesque. We readers never really know what is happening and only get fragments, while Winnette gives us both clues and red herrings. The things his neither do the characters know what is happening so everyone is lost.

As times I admit that I found The Job of the Wasp frustrating but I also admit that I was gripped as I kept hoping that there would be some type of reveal at the end but if anything the ending potentially takes us into another direction.

The last time I had my brain twisted in such a manner is when I read John Fowles’ The Magus and to a certain extent The Job of the Wasp does a similar task of creating confusion and blurring the lines between reality and fantasy albeit in a more economical manner. Coupled with Winnette’s deceptively simple writing style, this book is a cult classic in the making.

Many thanks to Soft Skull Press for giving me a copy in exchange for a review