The Compensation Bureau

Ariel Dorfman


OR Books

On a distant planet overlooking Earth, the nameless protagonist of The Compensation Bureau is one of a team of Actuaries at work on the innovative Lazarus Project. Conceived in response to the shocking violence observed in humankind, the project identifies people who have wrongfully died at the hands of others—whether victims of war, hate crimes, or random brutality—and attempts to compensate for the cruelty and pain they faced in life and death.

But balancing the accounts for the sufferings and wrongdoings of humanity proves hardly a clinical exercise. The Actuary soon finds himself personally invested in the project’s mission, and the goals of the project itself are complicated as the fate of Earth’s inhabitants becomes more uncertain. The Compensation Bureau explores the power of individual and collective action, from a writer hailed by The Washington Post as “a world-novelist of the first category.”