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The Subsidiary

Translated by Samuel Rutter

In the subsidiary offices of a major Latin American corporation, the power suddenly goes out: the lights switch off; the doors lock; the phone lines are cut. The employees are trapped in total darkness with only cryptic, intermittent announcements dispatched over the loud speaker, instructing all personnel to remain at their work stations until further notice.

The Subsidiary is one worker’s testimony to what happens during the days he spends trapped within the building’s walls, told exclusively—and hauntingly—through the stamps he uses to mark corporate documents.

Hand-designed by the author with a stamp set he bought in a library in Santiago, Matías Celedón’s The Subsidiary is both an exquisite object and a chilling avant-garde tale from one of Chile’s rising literary stars.

MATÍAS CELEDÓN is an award-winning novelist, journalist, and screenwriter. He lives in Santiago, Chile. The Subsidiary is his first book to be translated into English.

SAMUEL RUTTER is a writer and translator from Melbourne, Australia.

“A dystopian, Kafkaesque allegory made legible through a sequence of terse and scattered fragments…a brilliant performance of literary minimalism…visually-striking and shrewdly designed.”—Hyperallergic

“The telegraphic language intensifies the horror…A gem of alienation distilled into silent screams in the dark.” —BBC

“A chilling, cryptic tale…unique in its execution and form…Celedón’s book is an intriguing work of art…defiantly political without being didactic.”—PopMatters

Bartleby the Scrivener meets Cujo as imagined by David Lynch…In the spirit of Franz Kafka, Matías Celedón evokes a bureaucratic nightmare that is terrifying in its banality and in its menace…A remarkable reading experience.”—The Millions

“Compelling…The Subsidiary conjures the sort of cold, tight language that has often been employed in documenting subjugation…Uses the perfect form to convey its larger concerns…A complete work of art: literary and visual…sparse and evocative.”—Three Percent

“Equal parts workplace satire and storytelling experiment…a deeply unsettling work told in an innovative manner.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“An ingenious book-object…[A] cautionary fiction about the extent of violence we can inflict on ourselves and others given the means and opportunity.”—Minor Literature[s]