Date Published: September 29, 2015
Book Author: Bentley Little
Summary reviewed by:
Bachelor of Arts (BA), University Of California, Santa Barbara 2019
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In the mundane corridors of corporate America, a sinister force lurks, turning the ordinary into a nightmare. "The Consultant" unfolds in the heart of contemporary corporate America, a setting all too familiar yet eerily alien under Bentley Little's pen. The story revolves around CompWare, a company in the throes of turmoil following the arrival of a mysterious and unsettling consultant. As the consultant's influence permeates the company, employees face increasingly bizarre and disturbing changes in their workplace. Little masterfully weaves a tale of psychological horror, embedding deep into the fabric of everyday work life elements that are both fantastical and chillingly plausible. The narrative delves into the dark underbelly of corporate culture, exploring themes of power, control, and the loss of individuality. Little's vivid character portrayals and his knack for unsettling details keep readers on the edge, as the line between the mundane and the horrific blurs. The story crescendos to a climax that is both shocking and thought-provoking, leaving the reader questioning the very nature of corporate existence.
Spoilers (click here to reveal spoilers)
The culmination of "The Consultant" is a deft blend of terror and revelation, mirroring the book's dark exploration of corporate life. The consultant, an almost demonic figure, gradually tightens his grip on CompWare, manipulating and reshaping it into a grotesque parody of a corporation. As the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear that the consultant is more than a mere harbinger of corporate change; he is a malevolent force with a mysterious agenda. The employees, initially bewildered and compliant, begin to unravel the sinister truth behind his actions. The climax is a harrowing confrontation between the forces of normalcy and the otherworldly terror that the consultant represents. The resolution is both a defeat and a victory, underscoring Little's themes of the corrupting influence of power and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming darkness.
The Consultant: A mysterious and enigmatic figure whose arrival at CompWare heralds a series of bizarre and terrifying changes. His presence challenges the employees’ understanding of reality and morality.
Reggie: An employee at CompWare, represents the everyman caught in the corporate machine. His struggle against the consultant’s influence is marked by a deep sense of morality and a fight for personal integrity.
Linda: A colleague of Reggie, she is pragmatic yet sensitive, showcasing the emotional toll of the consultant’s reign. Her resilience highlights the human capacity to adapt and resist in dire circumstances.
The Dehumanization of Corporate Culture: Little depicts the corporate world as a soul-crushing machine, with the consultant amplifying this aspect to a terrifying degree.
Power and Manipulation: The consultant symbolizes the ultimate manipulator, using his influence to bend the will of the employees and the direction of the company.
Identity and Individuality: The struggle of the characters to maintain their identity amidst the chaos reflects the larger theme of individuality versus conformity.
The Supernatural as Metaphor: The consultant’s almost supernatural nature serves as a metaphor for the inexplicable and often irrational forces that drive corporate decision-making.