What is it about clerks that they so often attract the attentions of writers? Chaucer, Dickens, Melville, Kafka. I don't know - their anonymity? their existence as functionaries?, they love them. This is the story of one of my favorite clerks in literature (Wemmick from _Great Expectations_ being the other) who takes it into his head to break all the rules and actually make some human contact. This book is so beautifully written, so compassionate, and sort of sad.