Performed by Welcome to Night Vale podcast narrator Cecil Baldwin and special guests Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner, with music by Disparition.
From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves...no matter where we live.
"Hypnotic and darkly funny.... Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that encompasses The Twilight Zone, Stephen King and Twin Peaks, with a bit of Tremors thrown in." (The Guardian)
Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.
Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked "KING CITY" by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deerskin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can't seem to get the paper to leave her hand and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.
Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton's son, Josh, is moody and also a shape-shifter. And lately Diane's started to see her son's father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.
Diane's search to reconnect with her son and Jackie's search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: "KING CITY". It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures...if they can ever find it.
©2015 Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
"Hypnotic and darkly funny.... Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that encompasses The Twilight Zone, Stephen King, and Twin Peaks, with a bit of Tremors thrown in." (The Guardian)
"Audio is THE way to experience the Night Vale novel.... For fans, it's a must-listen." (AudioFile)
I am one of those who have not yet listened to the podcast. I feel strongly that this book stands on its own feet. I am absolutely sure, however, that it would be even better if I knew the references and inside jokes. A great to really great experience.
It was oddly soothing and anxiety inducing at the same time. I found the story very engaging and not slow at all, as some other reviewers have stated. There were a few spots where the narrative trail faltered, ever so slightly, but they were de minimus at worst.
At its heart, this is a story about belonging- whether to a family or a town. The blurred lines of life that drive us into each other's stories. Our hang ups and fears that hold us back, along with the moments where we overcome and change. Very well done and filled with allegory.
If you don't like the Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks, or the like, you almost certainly won't like this. If you aren't a fan of circular or flowery writing, you will hate this. If you like having ordinary things turned into bizarre thoughts and ideas, you'll love it. If you can understand dark humor and allegory, you'll get it completely.
Great listen, highest marks, Well worth a credit and your time.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
As a fan of the podcast, I truly wanted to enjoy this book. As it stands, this cannot stand up to the podcast. Maybe 30 minute segments are better to the narrator than a 10+ hour book.
I've enjoyed listening to Welcome to Night Vale (the podcast) up until recently, when it just stopped being about a cooky town and started being about them trying to tell us how weird the town is just so we don't forget. Not the point, though.
If it wasn't for the title of the book, I would have mistaken this for some high schooler's attempt to write a story for English class: full of in-jokes that only his buddies would understand and kind of bland either way.
The first few chapters are pretty slow going. Cecil Baldwin's monotone but relaxing voice is a welcome sign, but hearing him go on and on about one thing for a few sentences was exhausting and pretty aggravating, especially since it rarely had anything to do with the subject at hand. I found myself yelling at my radio (I was listening to it in the car), telling him to "GET ON WITH IT, CECIL!"
It doesn't talk too much about the characters at first, but more about the environment. Normally, not a bad sign, but when your book is based on a podcast that probably not everyone listens to, some of the jokes might go over a few heads. It felt like the authors were trying to emphasize the weirdness of the environment the two women were at than the two women themselves.
It just felt like the authors were trying to say "HEY THIS TOWN IS WEIRD! ISN'T IT WEIRD! THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM YOUR TOWN! DID I TELL YOU IT'S WEIRD?!" instead of letting the reader come to that conclusion gradually. Night Vale's strangeness is not subtle which itself is not a bad thing when presented in the right way, but at times it can just be aggravating.
Overall, it's an okay book. It had it's moments, once the story actually started going, the characters were relatable (to an extent).
Would I recommend it? Ehh, if the other person had listened to the podcast, yes. If not, then no, no I wouldn't. In the end, it's pretty much up to you if you want to listen.
Very well narrated, but as a non-initiated listener the book did not hold my interest all that well. If you have ever read an absurdist work before I don't think this has much to offer you unless you are deeply enamored with the source material.
The absurdity of Night Vale works best in small doses and this book stresses the border of that. Not for people unfamiliar with the podcast.
I absolutely love night vale and listening to the podcasts. The fact they had Cecil narrate was all the better. The story was kind of lost on me though. It certainly had all the night vale elements from the podcasts, but the story itself wasn't what I expected and ended a bit anticlimactic in my opinion. Overall it wasn't bad, but mostly because of the narration.
kind of struggled to finish it, the meandering of the writing does not translate to book format well and many of the "deep" moments are lost in the awkward transition, and many of the characters sound the same until they say dude or man. sublime performance though, even if
Ever heard that fiction uses lies to tell a truth? Personally I have never heard a better example of more truths told through fiction than this one. It was amazing how many small phrases regularly spaced throughout the book taught important truths about life choices, parenthood, science, literature, management, stress, travel, and relationships (romantic and platonic) this book illustrated so clearly through statements and allusions to some of the strangest things you will ever hear. The writing of Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor is brought to life through the talent of Cecil Baldwin who both calms and engages so well that you feel that you are part of the community in such a way that there is nothing to fear as long as he is there to help you understand it. Their work has certainly has helped me through strange periods in my life and together with all of those on their team (especially the always appropriate ambient music of Disparition) this novel comes together as a significant work of modern literature and media.
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