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The Beautiful Bureaucrat

by Helen Phillips

A quirky first novel, part dystopian fantasy, part thriller & part romance. The whole book has a futuristic dream like quality. Josephine takes a job inputting numbers into 'The Database' in a windowless room with pink walls where she is shut in all day away from fellow workers & with no idea why she is doing it. I was as desperate to find out what is going on as Josephine & when the chilling truth finally dawns on her, I was totally gripped.

Extract

The person who interviewed her had no face. Under other circumstances - if the job market hadn't been so bleak for so long, if the summer hadn't been so glum and muggy - this might have discouraged Josephine from stepping through the door of that office in the first place .... The lips, dry and faintly wry, parted to release the worst breath Josephine had ever smelled .... Before Josephine could decide whether or not she ought to ask her interviewer's name, The Person with Bad Breath abruptly stood. Josephine fumbled to follow, out of the office and down the long hallway. Once again, she noticed the sound: a sound like many cockroaches crawling behind closed doors, interwoven with brief mechanical moans.

Parallels

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Anything by Franz Kafka
 

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