Ariel Djanikian holds an MFA degree from the University of Michigan and is the recipient of a Fulbright grant. Her work has appeared in L Magazine and The Paris Review Daily, and she has stories forthcoming in Tin House and Alaska Quarterly Review. Visit her website here.
THE OFFICE OF MERCY (2013)
On the screen and on the page, dystopian fantasies have captivated the public imagination. In The Office of Mercy, debut novelist Ariel Djanikian has conceived a chilling, post-apocalyptic page-turner that has earned her glowing comparisons to George Orwell and Suzanne Collins.
In America-Five, there is no suffering, hunger, or inequality. Its citizens inhabit a high-tech Utopia established after a global catastrophe known as the Storm radically altered the planet. Twenty-four-year-old Natasha Wiley works in the Office of Mercy, tasked with humanely terminating—or “sweeping”—the nomadic Storm survivors who live Outside. But after she joins a select team and ventures Outside for the first time, Natasha slowly unravels the mysteries surrounding the Storm—and the secretive elders who run America-Five.
“Intriguing premise. . . . In this thoughtful debut, Djanikian explores the disconnect between a utopian vision and its dystopian implementation. . . . 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.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“ A cool and compelling dystopian bildungsroman from a debut author we imagine we’ll be hearing a lot more from.”—Emily Temple, Flavorwire
“[A] horrifically brutal, compelling debut. . . . A grim muse on a future with shades of The Hunger Games, Djanikian’s first offering should attract readers voracious for this popular subgenre.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Fascinating. . . . Djanikian’s fictitious world combines both the horrifying consequences of ethnic cleansing with the bright new hope of how much one person can do to change history. Both believable and chilling, this tale transports readers to a futuristic utopic life where good and evil mingle with equal opportunity and are often indistinguishable to the characters. This intriguing slice of future drama ends much too soon, and will leave readers begging for a sequel, if not a series.”—Kirkus Reviews
“I gulped this startlingly smart debut down, unable to stop before I found out what happened to brave Natasha and her America-Five compatriots.”—Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures
“[Djanikian] truly shines by plunging her characters into existential crises as they question and finally confront the foundations on which their lives are built. Fans of sci-fi and speculative fiction will enjoy this adventurous exploration of human nature.”—Shelfawareness
“The Office of Mercy is an indisputable page turner with a surprising ending — and crafting prose.”—Michael Schaub, npr.org
Rights: Viking, World; Heyne Verlag, Germany; RWSG, Film.
Warner Horizon Television (The Closer, Pretty Little Liars, Longmire) have optioned The Office of Mercy for development as a one-hour cable television series. Ariel will consult on the pilot and the series.