The Beautiful Bureaucrat
Author: Helen Phillips
Josephine lives in an isolated cube of an office and types numbers and names into The Database. The time might be present, or the future. She is thrilled to get the job, as she and her husband have been unemployed. Her husband Joseph gets a job also but neither share where they are working or what they are doing. It’s a random secret. And then Joseph starts disappearing every once in a while in the evening without telling Josephine a thing. And Josephine starts worrying about the strange environment in her strange job.
Like Waiting for Godot, this brilliant novel reveals its truth in minuscule vignettes of tragicomedy. The interviewer is the Person with Bad Breath and Josephine’s boss. Trishifffany is another employee at the firm. She cannot decide whether to call herself Trish or Tiffany. As Josephine goes deeper into the void of her job, she realizes something. When she discovers her husband’s name on the list to be entered into The Database, she realizes that she is typing in the date of his death – tomorrow. And as she saves him, Joseph realizes that his job is similar to Josephine’s, only he types in births. He realizes this as he and Josephine have been trying to have a baby – and he is typing in the name of number of their baby, to be born shortly.
Surreal and familiar, as we enter the world of machines and data, Helen Phillips shows us how humanity survives. Well done!
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Review by Broad “A”
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
The Beautiful Bureaucrat: A Novel is available for purchase on Amazon.com and your local bookseller.