The Office of Mercy

Ariel Djanikian. Viking, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-02586-2
In this thoughtful debut, Djanikian explores the disconnect between a utopian vision and its dystopian implementation. America-Five is one of several self-contained habitats built in an attempt to survive in an overcrowded and deprived world. Once the habitats’ settlers set off the Storm, the world’s population dropped from a staggering 59 billion to mere hundreds of thousands. Three hundred years later, population is tightly controlled both within and outside the settlements, with each habitat’s Office of Mercy benevolently killing members of the starving, scrounging outside tribes to ease their suffering. Natasha Wiley, a young citizen assigned to the Office of Mercy, knows empathy will only get in the way of her necessary work, but when she comes into close contact with one of the tribes, her reaction sets off world-changing events. Despite the emphasis on human emotion, Djanikian’s approach is more cerebral than emotionally satisfying, and readers may respond by trying to poke holes in the intriguing premise rather than enjoying the ride. Agent: Jenni Ferrari-Adler, Brick House. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 02/21/2013
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-14-312437-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-6225-1
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-60610-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-4225-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-1225-6
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