Chambermaid: A Novel

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Grove Press, 2007 - Fiction - 272 pages
2 Reviews
Sheila Raj is a recent graduate of a top-ten law school with dreams of working for the ACLU. When she lands a coveted yearlong federal clerkship with legal goddess Judge Helga Friedman, she cannot help but think that her life is destined for jurisprudential greatness. But law school did not prepare Sheila for the power-hungry sociopath who greets her on her first day and insists that she is Pakistani (she's Indian), that her name is Sheba (it's Sheila), and refers to her co-clerk Laura as "the gay"; nor for Her Honor's secretaries--Roy, who moonlights as a medieval bard called Felemid McDowell, and Janet, who pets the Pound Puppies draped over her computer when she's not thumping her Bible. Only when she is assigned to a high-profile death-penalty case does Sheila realize she has to survive the year as Friedman's chambermaid--not only her sanity, but actual lives hang in the balance. With Chambermaid, debut novelist Saira Rao breaks the code of silence surrounding the clerkship--that most lofty and untouchable rite of passage for so many young lawyers--and boldly takes us into the mysterious world of the third branch of the U.S. government, where the leaders are not elected and can never be fired. With its biting wit and laugh-out-loud humor, this novel will change everything you think you know about how great lawyers, and great judges, are made.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The devil wears judicial robes in this unoriginal law clerking exposť, penned by a former clerk to an appeals judge. Fresh out of Columbia Law School, Sheila is convinced that a federal clerkship for ... Read full review

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User Review  - ennie - LibraryThing

Fresh out of Columbia Law School, Sheila lands a prestigious federal clerkship for a Philadelphia judge. Part of the "Devil Wears Prada" unreasonable boss genre (oh no, she did WHAT?), it kept me turning the pages. Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Saira Rao grew up in Richmond, Virginia. After graduating from the University of Virginia and New York University School of Law, she completed a clerkship with a federal court of appeals judge. She lives in New York City with her husband. Chambermaid is her first novel.

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