book cover of Cleaner
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“Welcome to the office building at night, an eerie ship helmed by one woman desperate for connection.” —Julia Fine, author of Maddalena and the Dark

Every night, she cleans. On the fourth floor of an unnamed office in an unnamed city, the night cleaner comes and does what she does best—sorts out the messes of the daytime employees. None of them know her, but she knows everything about them: Sad Intern’s dreams to get promoted, Résumé Woman’s nasty flight-risk behavior, Mr. Buff’s secret smoking habit (not very conducive to his fitness journey).

She’s the office mastermind, the one everyone needs, and no one even knows she exists. And tonight, while scrolling through your emails, she’ll discover the secret you’ve been hiding—the one that will put everyone’s job at risk.

After all, protecting the employees is her responsibility: whether it’s from rats and window smudges or from the sinister CEO who may be driving the company into ruin. And you’re about to find out that, sometimes, your most powerful enemy is the one you don’t even see.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Brandi Wells's Cleaner is a fantastic office novel, a keen evocation of our deep desire for dignity in the workplace and for recognition of a job well done. It's also a smart thriller about what the essential workers you choose not to see might right now be thinking about you-and a sharp reminder that you ignore the people upon whom your good life depends at your own peril." - Matt Bell

"What a total delight it is to roam this (almost) empty building with Brandi Wells' cleaner who is always peering (and neatening) the surfaces of people's lives and finding so much depth in there to mess with - Here's a new and key addition to office fiction and a thrilling debut novel by a propulsive voice." - Aimee Bender

"Suspenseful, obsessive, and scalpel-sharp, Cleaner is an ultra-vivid and profound parable of contemporary work life imbued with the soft blue glow of a middle manager's computer screen at night. In other words, Wells brilliantly documents all the ways we make each other feel small and unseen at the workplace (and the tactics we may use to dismantle these hierarchies) in this electrifying, singular debut." - Patty Yumi Cottrell

"The most richly crafted delusion of a novel since Ottessa Moshfegh's Eileen. I couldn't put it down - an exquisite novel!" - Sarah Rose Etter

"There are people who pass unnoticed, but who nevertheless quietly shape the worlds that others occupy. Cleaner is about one such person, about someone who, secretly, without being detected, subtly tugs on the strings that remain unseen to so many others, changing lives that even after the fact often don't know who or what has changed them. Cleaner is a clever portrait that scrapes away the slick veneer of the everyday to reveal the rough grain of the wood beneath." - Brian Evenson

"Welcome to the office building at night, an eerie and yet totally mundane ship helmed by one woman desperate for connection and valiantly, perhaps delusionally, striving for meaning in her work. Brandi Wells' Cleaner is laugh out loud funny, but its project of validating unseen labor is totally serious. This is a book that celebrates humanity, even while tearing down the corporate culture that denies it in the drollest and wittiest of ways." - Julia Fine

"Brandi Wells has created a biting, witty, pitch-perfect novel about one woman's desire to connect with her office co-workers - the only problem is, she cleans the office during the night and they work during the day. Cleaner is funny, slyly moving, and totally weirdly wonderful, and Brandi Wells is a gloriously bold writer. I adored it." - Annie Hartnett

"A sharp and toothy portrait of a life devoted to the convenience of others . . . Cleaner skilfully satirizes the work-place novel, offering cutting insights on the hypocrisy and empty ambitions of grind culture." - Isle McElroy

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