A novel about a group of young colleagues working as social media content monitors--reviewers of violent or illegal videos for an unnamed megacorporation--who convince themselves they're in control, until the violence strikes closer to home.
... potent ... appears at first to be the story of a tech workplace gone terribly awry, but it quickly shape-shifts into something more surprising and enigmatic ... Hexa itself is a familiar villain, and it behaves in ways that anyone versed in the evils of tech companies are likely to expect. At times, I wondered if Hexa would be even more menacing if there was more genuine provocation to be found between its walls, more strangeness and surprise. In the end, Hexa functions most effectively as a backdrop for the psychological drama of the characters — and this is where Bervoets shines. Kayleigh is equal parts intriguing and frustrating, at once confessional and withholding, and her account is akin to the story of the man on the rooftop — what is the level of danger? As we spend more and more time in the trick mirror of the internet, how can we know what or whom to believe?
Bervoets’ writing is vivid, eerie, and beguilingly conversational, especially considering its content. As Kayleigh’s narrative careens toward its conclusion, and the reason for the letter becomes clear, readers are forced to confront the way perspective shapes understanding, and they will likely want to avoid the internet for a beat. Powerful, discussable, and a harbinger of a voice-in-translation to watch.
Scathing, darkly humorous ... In this twist on the workplace drama, Bervoets masterfully captures our contemporary moment without devolving into national politics or soapbox rhetoric ... The psychological toll inherent to today’s workforce, big tech ethics, and viral misinformation—each are examined in turn by Kayleigh’s wonderfully snarky, unreliable narration and Bervoets’ intimate portrayals of a well-imagined and diverse cast of characters. Look out for a sucker-punch ending as Kayleigh searches for one of her flagged influencers in person. At first it’s infuriating—over-the-top, out of character, and abrupt. But on further consideration, this controversial conclusion has the reader experience Kayleigh's emotional process after reviewing each post: shocked back into reality and left to wonder how to live with what she's seen ... Bervoets just gets it. This is, unironically, a novel for our time.