Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Welcome to Night Vale

Cover image for Welcome to Night Vale : a novel 
Welcome to Night Vale
by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Harper Perennial, 2015, 401 pages, Science Fiction

In the mysterious town of Night Vale, young pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is handed a message by an even more mysterious man. At the same time, local PTA treasurer Diane Crayton is confused that she’s the only person who remembers a man who everyone else claims doesn’t exist. When Jackie and Diane discover they’re actually trying to track down the same person, the two join forces in hopes that life can go back to normal. This won’t be an easy feat, because Night Vale is anything but normal.

Full disclosure: I’ve never listened to a single episode of the podcast this book is based on. I still thought this book was both fun and accessible, but regular listeners will probably get more of the jokes simply because they’re already used to Fink and Cranor’s absurdist humor.

Night Vale seems to be a place situated in Area 51 or a surrounding neighborhood. Mysterious lights flash in the sky at night and otherworldly beings have taken over places like the City Council and the library. The book switches viewpoints every few chapters, following Jackie, then switching to Diane. Every once in a while a summary of what’s happening is given by a radio announcer, who I’m told is the regular narrator of the podcast.

Weird yet fun, this book helped me get out of a slight mid-winter funk. If you like Terry Pratchett, Monty Python, or the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you’ll probably enjoy both this book and its podcast.


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