The Beautiful Bureaucrat
In a windowless building in a remote part of town, the newly employed Josephine inputs an endless string of numbers into something known only as The Database.
As the days inch by and the files stack up, Josephine feels increasingly anxious in her surroundings - the office's scarred pinkish walls take on a living quality, the drone of keyboards echoes eerily down the long halls. When one evening her husband Joseph disappears and then returns, offering no explanation as to his whereabouts, her creeping unease shifts decidedly to dread.
Both chilling and poignant, The Beautiful Bureaucrat is a novel of rare restraint and imagination. Helen Phillips calls to mind the exuberant strangeness of Haruki Murakami, and the fairytales of Angela Carter as she twists the world we know and shows it back to us full of meaning and wonder - luminous and new.