Archive for August 26th, 2015

Debut novelist Ariel Djanikian builds to a devastating series of climaxes in ‘The Office of Mercy’

August 26, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 26, 2015

The Office of Mercy, the 2013 debut novel by American author Ariel Djanikian, depicts the journeys of two members of a future American community that is both highly insulated and extremely fascistic.

The main character is Natasha Wiley, a rebellious 24-year-old resident of a primarily underground habitat called America-Five. The residents rarely leave the settlement; even less rarely do they have any wish to step outside its antiseptic corridors. Wiley works in the Office of Mercy, where she monitors migratory tribes roaming a harsh environment that was scoured centuries ago by a violent storm — the result of climate change, perhaps.

The agency’s functions are hardly limited to monitoring, however. The office also conducts sweeps — a euphemism for killing. Ideally, the office confirms that all members of a tribe have gathered together and clinically destroys them with a tactical nuclear strike. If there are stragglers, either the sweep is postponed or things get…messy.

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