Le roman d’Helen Philips est sélectionné pour le prochain prix littéraire du Los Angeles Times, catégorie fiction. Publié en août 2015, THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT a attiré l’attention de la presse américaine et notamment du New York Times. Safarà Editore le publiera en Italie et les droits télé ont été acquis par The CW.
Josephine must race to find her way through the labyrinthine bureaucracy, in order to save herself and to salvage the life she’s built
THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT
by Helen Phillips
Henry Holt, August 2015
Josephine has been out of work a long time, so when she is hired to work in a vast, windowless building, doing what at first appears to be a monotonous filing and cross-checking task, she’s mostly just relieved that her long period of unemployment has come to an end. Never mind that the person who hired her seems not to have a face and becomes known only as The Person With Bad Breath, or that Josephine works in a pale, airless room where the walls are completely bare, save some scratches Josephine fears may have come from those who held the job before her. She can endure any job in order to be able to build a future with her husband, Joseph. Under the watchful eyes of her sinister boss and an aggressively friendly coworker, she matches names to numbers and enters both into a seemingly infinite database, though she knows nothing about the true nature of her job nor the identity of the institution that employs her.
In the evenings, Josephine returns home to one of a series of strange sublets, and to Joseph, who often greets her with candles and dinner, until one day he doesn’t come home at all. Joseph also has a bureaucratic job, and the two have agreed never to discuss their work, but as Joseph grows mysteriously distant and begins to disappear more frequently without explanation, and as Josephine slowly comes to understand the meaning of the codes she’s entering into the system, the rituals of their daily lives shift from the mundane to something more sinister.
Is Josephine really being followed by The Man in the Grey Sweatshirt? How do her co-workers seem to know things about her before she knows them herself? Increasingly unmoored in her home life and uneasy in her work life, Josephine attempts to keep her paranoia in check and hold on to her sanity. But as her suspicions escalate and the terrifying truth about her work is revealed, she realizes that those she holds most dear are in fatal danger.