RaveThe New York Times Book Review...[a] riveting, drolly surreal debut novel ... Phillips’s thrillerlike pacing and selection of detail as the novel unfolds is highly skilled ... Phillips makes much of the attendant Judeo-Christian symbology ... However, I often felt the symbols were trying too hard ... The characters, too, can feel generic, even cutesy at times ... Though this is a parabolic novel — working within the tradition of symbolic figures and situations — some less excitable verbs would have served the author’s style, as would the upending of readers’ expectations. What if the nameless, faceless boss were the one who smelled like candy, the pink-suited blonde the one with bad breath? ... Style aside, what makes The Beautiful Bureaucrat a unique contribution to the body of existential literature is its trajectory, as the story telescopes in two directions, both outward to pose macro questions about God and the universe, and inward to pose intimate inquiries about marriage and fidelity ... Readers on either side of the abortion debate (and animal rights advocates) will find rich discussion material in the startling, enigmatic ending. Ultimately, The Beautiful Bureaucrat succeeds because it isn’t afraid to ask the deepest questions. What is the balance of power and powerlessness between two people who love each other? Do individual souls matter? Can we create, should we destroy, and can we always tell the difference?