Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the Industrial Revolution is, for better or for worse, our inclination to define who we are by what we do, and this essential new issue of Granta will lay bare the intrinsic link between work and identity. From the jobless to the workaholics, from the hard work of dying to the landscape work has created out of office parks and suburbs, Granta 109 tells the stories of how and why we work in the twenty-first century. Steven Hall visits the world's pre-eminent robotics lab to see what machines will do for us next; Caroline Moorehead explores the trafficking of workers into the United Kingdom; Daniel Alarcon infiltrates the world of book pirating in Peru; Salman Rushdie meditates on sloth; Rose George examines the state of merchant shipping;Ruchir Joshi travels India to find out how a transforming economy is affecting the nation's professional landscape; and Aminatta Forna profiles the last vet in Sierra Leone. Plus: Photographs of Johannesburg's Ponte City Apartments by Mikhael Subotzky, and new fiction from Joshua Ferris, VV Ganeshananthan, Julian Barnes and Jim Crace. Granta 109 gives us a glimpse of ourselves at our most primordial, in a day and age when work has become the most invisible (at least in literature) and yet all-encompassingaspect of human life.