During a regular shift at the call center, Alvin Estrada discovers a way to embezzle money from the American telecom giant for which he mans the phones. Soon a couple of friends join in, and the operation proceeds smoothly up until they quit, vowing to take the secret to their graves. A month later, a phone call at 4 in the morning tells Alvin that the police are on their way.
At once a workplace novel and a meditation on history and globalization, The Quiet Ones is a grimly humorous take on a soul-sapping, multi-billion-dollar industry. In interlocking narratives, it explores lives rendered mute by irate callers, scripted apologies, and life’s menial violence, but which manage to talk back every now and then, just as long as the Mute button is firmly pressed.
Winner, 2017 Palanca Grand Prize.