Just in time for some dark, soul searching Halloween fun (editor’s note: or just after some dark, soul searching Halloween fun, in the case of this post’s publication date), the writers of the very successful podcast, Welcome To Night Vale, have released a book!
The book centers around two characters we have encountered before on a quest to solve some mysteries that have interrupted their everyday life. We are also introduced to a new town (with its own quirky traits) and its inhabitants. Most excitingly, we meet the man in the tan jacket who holds a deer skinned suitcase face to face. After hearing about this mysterious gentleman for more than two years, reader and listeners alike will be eager to learn more about this man who we could never remember.
What is Welcome to Night Vale and why does a podcast have a book, you may wonder?
Night Vale is a fictional town where every conspiracy theory is true. We learn of Night Vale, up to this point, only through a man named Cecil, the voice of the community radio station. Located in an isolated desert, Night Vale is home to a number of secret agencies, dangerous librarians, a heavily guarded and little used dog park as well as upstanding, book fearing citizens.
The podcast revolves around the residents and the occasional apocalyptic events of the little town. The book focuses on PTA treasurer Diane Crayton, her shape shifting son Josh, pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro, the man in the tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase constantly running off into the distance, some angels (who don’t really exist), and old woman Josie. Diane is a mom trying to find a missing co-worker while dealing with an angsty teenage son and Jackie is trying to remember exactly how long she has been 19 years old and whether or not the pawn shop game is really for her.
This book is a valuable addition to the Night Vale universe, but it is not just for long-time fans. People have been recommending the podcast for years but always hesitate when asked for a description. “What’s it about?” Listeners can discuss how deeply complex the characters are or talk about the horrifying descriptions of looming planets, but find it hard to put into words exactly what kind of experience new listeners (and now readers) are in for.
Welcome to Night Vale can be described as an existentialist, and often hilarious observation of an isolated community where a lot of horrifying things happen. Or, it can be described as a love story to an amazing town and its inhabitants. Either way, the stories of the townsfolk and of the town itself are fascinating and satisfying to those of us living in a world where time makes sense but the world around us often doesn’t.
The book is recommended for those who love philosophy, absurdity, dark humor, pathos and long story arcs. It is not intended for small children. It is intended to be shared, re-read and read aloud.