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Publisher's Summary

A young wife's new job pits her against the unfeeling machinations of the universe in this dazzling first novel Ursula K. Le Guin hails as "funny, sad, scary, beautiful. I love it."

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. After a long period of joblessness, she's not inclined to question her fortune, but 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 echo 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. As other strange events build to a crescendo, the haunting truth about Josephine's work begins to take shape in her mind, even as something powerful is gathering its own form within her. She realizes that in order to save those she holds most dear, she must penetrate an institution whose tentacles seem to extend to every corner of the city and beyond. Both chilling and poignant, The Beautiful Bureaucrat is a novel of rare restraint and imagination. With it, Helen Phillips enters the company of Murakami, Bender, and Atwood as she twists the world we know and shows it back to us full of meaning and wonder - luminous and new.

©2015 Helen Phillips (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[U]nusual and deeply interesting.... Ms. Phillips has a wickedly funny eye, a fine sense of pacing, a smooth, winning writing style and a great gift for a telling detail.... As you finish the novel, and you'll feel like you're waking up from an odd dream when you reach the last page, it's worth recalling the title of Ms. Phillip's earlier book, And Yet They Were Happy. That works here, too." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Helen Philips is Kafka strolling through Night Vale

Impeccable dissection of the silent horror of forms, filing, collating, & redacting. Dina Pearlman is PERFECT.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not much to it.

This is a dull story about a dull future where not much happens. Immediate reaction after slogging through it is -- really? That's it??? Can't believe I spent this many hours listening only to have the big reveal be something that was pretty obvious from the get-go and not all that interesting.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Bizarre

Just too bizarre ! Not sure what this was supposed to mean, although the last line of the story was revealing. This was really weird.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful