Some places are too good to be true. Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map. In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things.
After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother's past, the more she understands that the people of Wink are very, very different....
From one of our most talented and original new literary voices comes the next great American supernatural novel: a work that explores the dark dimensions of the hometowns and the neighbors we thought we knew.
©2013 Robert Jackson Bennett (P)2013 Recorded Books
American Elsewhere is about an out-of-kilter town called Wink and what happens to its unusual residents and visitors.The book can be violent, but manages to remain cerebral stylish and witty. It is a mysterious, lyrical and darkly funny book. Among its odd but fascinating characters, Mrs. Benjamin is my favorite - strangely delightful on so many levels. I know Robert Jackson Bennett doesn't need another rave review, but here goes. I rarely care enough to comment on a book. It is even more rare that I listen to a book repeatedly just for the pleasure of the writing and to capture nuances I may have missed the first time. Bennett has a surfeit of talent for such a relatively new writer.The narrator, Graham Winton, is marvelous and captures the angst and awkwardness of characters living odd lives in a strange place. He is so good, it is hard to believe he is one person. Is American Elsewhere horror, science fiction or allegory? Who cares? It is a mesmerizing, charming and creepy read.
I was originally sold on this book by my friend comparing it to the small-town odd-horror of Welcome to Night Vale. And it's true: both WTNV and American Elsewhere share a deep thematic kinship, but not always in the ways I expected.
What really got me the most about American Elsewhere was Bennett's ability to weave a story with real creeping dread that didn't sacrifice an emotional core. The struggles that Mona faces are big, impossibly big, but at their heart they're about the inability for children to ever truly know their parents; about how parents are not always, much less often right, and how hard it is to see that. It's a book about motherhood in an alternative and beautiful way.
In the end, American Elsewhere is a story about things that could have been but never were, and there is little more horrifying than the thought that you could have made different, maybe better choices, and living with that not knowing.
I had a hard time with the description and some of the reviews. It's hard to put your finger on what this book is really about. There's a lot of themes that you might find another books but this seems to be a story unlike any other. I thought it was thoroughly entertaining and intriguing. I enjoyed the character development and the way it unfolded. It was a rather long book but I think it allowed for the depth that it had. I would highly recommend it but be sure this is a sci-fi story, not for those that only want realism.
Repetitive. That's why it's so long.
Not worth it.
The story was just okay.
There were some parts that made me stop and think. The author could write a good book someday if he learns to edit his work.
I like realistic books that stretch the truth and the laws of physics...and also emotionally resonant narration that doesn't suck.
Now this is how you tell a fantasy/sci-fi story! Really, the writing was no less than expertly done, the plot was so original, so inventive, I was just awed. The research that must have gone into the scientific oddities of the plot had to have been monumental. The characters were deeply drawn and believable, and likeable, and frightening. The more horrific parts were truly horrifying, like a well done Stephen King, only more graphic.
The arc of the plot, the rate at which truths were revealed, was very skilful, though I did start to feel like things should have been wrapping up around the point when there were 6 hours left to listen to. There was so much information to the story that I don't know how it could have been shortened, yet at no point did I get the sense that the author was "info-dumping", the prose was clear as a bell. Really entertaining, long term sort of read, and a very, very cool and scary story. Sci-fi nerds will love it, Horror fans will dig it, and anyone who likes "magical reality" will love it.
Oh, and the narration was just as professional as the writer. Well done.
I am happily married with three kids and work as the art director for Trendy Entertainment.
If you love Dean Koontz's Phantoms and The Taking, Neil Gaiman's American Gods, or Stephen King's The Tommyknockers then the is the brand of horror/sci-fi/mythos for you! Ugh, love this book.
What *didn't* I like about it?
The characters were complex having more than a single motivation each.
Loved the Lovecraftian elements.
Creepy small town vibe was great.
Well written and clearly well thought out.
Highly recommend this one!
I listen to books while I do the repetitive part of my job and while I do yard work. I can't use audiobooks that require strict attention.
I listened to this via Audible. Didn't read the PB.
I found it to be derivative. Clearly channeling Lovecraft's Great Old Ones. Also, some Dexter. Mona's "fuck" in every sentence was as tedious as Deb's.
The story was good. The narrator was good. I didn't love the way Bennett told the story. It was inconsistent.
I DID listen all the way through because I wanted to see where it was going, in spite of wishing he'd had a better editor.
Editing. The book was chock full of mistakes and awkward phrasing.
It had potential, it really could have been a better book. It desperately needs pruning. It was disjointed, and stilted. The good ideas that it did contain went unexplored.
He often stutters, not like a handicap, but often enough that you wonder why the director (whose name is proudly spoken at the beginning of each part) did not redo the take. The narrator hesitates on a word, and puts emphasis on the wrong words, which changes the meaning of the sentence. Taken out of context, it would make no sense.
There were some parts that seemed like they were written and performed by professionnals, but they were like gaps in the clouds on an overcast day. The prevailing winds would blow me back into the gray reality of what an amateurish and silly book this really is.
Here are some examples of what bugged me in the writing;
'' Whimpered like a stuck pig'' I thought they squealed.
'' she was a becoming young woman'' Did he mean comeley?
'' He was unable to enunciate his sadness'' What??
He mangles popular expressins contantly, and uses words in not quite the right way so often, I could not finish it. I got most of the way through, but it was just not worth it.Another reviewer said it was like early Koontz, Maybe Koontz in high school... Maybe.
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Instant favorite! just a great story and performance! I cant wait to see what else this author has to offer.
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