I Hope This Finds You Well

Anyone who's ever worked in an office will appreciate Natalie Sue's hilarious satire of workplace mind games in her debut novel, I Hope This Finds You Well. Sue is a keen anthropologist of the despairs of the office worker and is also adept at rendering tricky family dynamics.

The reluctant star of I Hope This Finds You Well is Jolene, a perceptive, sarcastic Iranian Canadian who lives in Calgary. When one of the snarky messages she appends to e-mails at her boring-but-necessary job is discovered, she's put on a training plan administered by the new HR guy, Cliff, a cute, friendly goof. Jolene's already a miserable loner at work due to misunderstandings and untreated anxiety--getting in trouble makes it excruciatingly worse.

Unfortunately, Jolene has no one to confide in. Her life outside the office is just as lonely, a fact she tries to hide from her parents, especially her delightfully pushy Iranian immigrant mother who tries to play matchmaker. Jolene's not interested in love; she's too busy dealing with shame and trauma from a life-changing high school incident that continues to haunt her. However, Jolene's situation takes a turn when her computer suddenly grants her access to all company e-mails and instant messages. Being privy to all the gossip and posturing among her coworkers spurs her into action, and she decides to best her office rival, befriend Cliff, and snag an open promotion.

Despite her novel's comedic billing, Sue avoids clichés and stock characters, instead building layered portrayals of even the villains. Prepare to feel excruciating secondhand embarrassment but also hope, grief, joy, and so much more. --Nina Semczuk, writer, editor, and illustrator

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