The Beautiful Bureaucrat: A Novel

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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2015

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by Time Out, Bustle, The Atlantic, Electric Literature, Kobo, Kirkus and more...

"Riveting... thrillerlike...drolly surreal...Ultimately, The Beautiful Bureaucrat succeeds because it isn't afraid to ask the deepest questions." The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

"A joyride..." -Karen Russell

NAMED A MUST READ OF THE SUMMER by the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Bustle, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, HelloGiggles and more...

A young wife's new job pits her against the unfeeling machinations of the universe in a 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 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.

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.

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About the author

Helen Phillips is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award and the Italo Calvino Prize, among others. Her collection, And Yet They Were Happy, was also a finalist for the McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize, and her work has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts and appeared in Tin House, Electric Literature, Slice, BOMB, Mississippi Review, and PEN America. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.
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3.4
29 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Henry Holt and Company
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Published on
Aug 11, 2015
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781627793773
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Thrillers / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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* LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION * A NEW YORK TIMES 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2019 SELECTION * ONE OF TIME’S 10 BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR * ONE OF WASHINGTON POST’S 50 BEST BOOKS OF 2019 * ONE OF O MAGAZINE’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019 * ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019 *

“A profound meditation on the nature of reality…An extraordinary and dazzlingly original work from one of our most gifted and interesting writers.” —EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL, author of Station Eleven

“Phillips is, as always, doing something at once wildly her own and utterly primal. Maybe it doesn't surprise me that the strangest book I've read about motherhood is also the best, but it does thrill me.” —REBECCA MAKKAI, author of The Great Believers

“Spellbinding...both unsettling and irresistible. Phillips manifests the surreal, terrifying, and visceral experience of motherhood.” —DANA SPIOTTA, author of Innocents and Others

“Like parenthood itself, The Need is frightening and maddening and full of dark comedy… Everyday life, here, is both tedious and fascinating, grotesque and lovely, familiar and tremendously strange.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW (EDITORS’ CHOICE)

“[A]n extraordinary writer at her electrifying best.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)

When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.

But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Helen Phillips has been anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, and The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.
Jack Reacher. Hero. Loner. Soldier. Soldier’s son. An elite military cop, he was one of the army’s brightest stars. But in every cop’s life there is a turning point. One case. One messy, tangled case that can shatter a career. Turn a lawman into a renegade. And make him question words like honor, valor, and duty. For Jack Reacher, this is that case.

New Year’s Day, 1990. The Berlin Wall is coming down. The world is changing. And in a North Carolina “hot-sheets” motel, a two-star general is found dead. His briefcase is missing. Nobody knows what was in it. Within minutes Jack Reacher has his orders: Control the situation. But this situation can’t be controlled. Within hours the general’s wife is murdered hundreds of miles away. Then the dominoes really start to fall.

Two Special Forces soldiers—the toughest of the tough—are taken down, one at a time. Top military commanders are moved from place to place in a bizarre game of chess. And somewhere inside the vast worldwide fortress that is the U.S. Army, Jack Reacher—an ordinarily untouchable investigator for the 110th Special Unit—is being set up as a fall guy with the worst enemies a man can have.

But Reacher won’t quit. He’s fighting a new kind of war. And he’s taking a young female lieutenant with him on a deadly hunt that leads them from the ragged edges of a rural army post to the winding streets of Paris to a confrontation with an enemy he didn’t know he had. With his French-born mother dying—and divulging to her son one last, stunning secret—Reacher is forced to question everything he once believed…about his family, his career, his loyalties—and himself. Because this soldier’s son is on his way into the darkness, where he finds a tangled drama of desperate desires and violent death—and a conspiracy more chilling, ingenious, and treacherous than anyone could have guessed.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Lee Child’s Make Me.
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