Media Center: ‘Break in Case of Emergency’ by Jessica Winter
WHO: Jessica Winter
WHAT: BREAK IN CASE OF EMERGENCY,
WHEN: Published by Knopf July 14, 2016
WHERE: The author lives in Brooklyn.
WHY: “A biting lampoon of workplace politics
and a heartfelt search for meaning in modern life.
“Winter’s debut novel offers an entertaining and smartly satirical glimpse inside a New York City nonprofit startup. Jen, in her mid-30s and a new hire at the Leora Infinitas Foundation (also known as LIFt), attempts to navigate the office culture of meaningless jargon, comically hollow acronyms, and self-congratulatory meetings about vague project proposals.
“Jen, who is by nature accommodating and eager to please, becomes conflicted as she realizes that the company is more concerned with appearances than empowering women all over the world, as its mission statement claims. Still, unlike her coworker Daisy, who is hilariously blunt in her mockery of the foundation, Jen is determined to please her superiors and succeed in her position, having given up on her dream of becoming a visual artist in favor of a stable income for the next phase of her life. She and her husband have been trying to conceive for long enough that they’ve devised their own code language for doctors’ visits and fertility tests.
“But as Jen’s job begins to affect every aspect of her life, she’s forced to reexamine her choices, relationships, and aspirations.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“A captivating novel…Half rollicking sendup of celebrity philanthropy and half meaningful meditation on marriage, friendship, family, and adulthood.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
From the beginning of the book: “It’s hard to reproduce those kind of results if — oh, sorry,” Jen said, realizing a beat too late that the rest of the room had gone quiet. Leora Infinitas had already taken her place at the head of the table. For one silent-screaming moment, it looked as if she were attempting to rip her own face off, but in fact, she was tugging at her eyelash extensions under the placid gaze of the members of her board, who were seated in a corner conference room at the headquarters of the Leora Infinitas Foundation, also known as LIFt.”