Night Vale isn’t like other places. Strange lights in the sky, a deadly public library and invisible pie are all things the citizens of Night Vale deal with it. But to the people who call it home, the bizarre is mundane.

“Sleep is confusing. Dreams are baffling. The concept of transitioning from one perceived reality to another is a tolerated madness.”

Jackie, the pawnshop owner who has been nineteen years old for decades, and Diane, single mother of a shapeshifting teenage son, both have routine lives despite the expected unexpectedness of Night Vale.

That is, until a mysterious man in a tan jacket, a ubiquitous slip of paper, and the words “KING CITY” disrupt their lives and change them forever.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Uncanny and strange, fraught with weirdness and peril, the town of Night Vale makes as much sense as our most nonsensical dreams, which is to say it makes sense in a backward unexplainable way.

And that’s why geeks love it.

Rating (4 stars)

This is not a novel that will appeal to everyone. And thats okay. In daring to be different, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have elevated weirdness and non sequitor into an art form bursting with insight and intelligent metaphor.

Not being familiar with the popular podcast behind the book, it took me a while to embrace the looping, bizarre prose. Once I did, I found myself admiring how it both contradicted reality while also seeming to speak the truth. The twisting language managed to be poignant, humorous and perplexing by turns.

This storytelling style is more prominent than the plot— the book does ramble, and often you may wonder if the narrator has lost sight of the storyline, but the rich world of Night Vale is worth exploring at a leisurely pace. Don’t expect it make normal sense.

At times, you can tell that the concept of Night Vale and the stories that came from it originated in podcast form. The book retains a sense of spoken word.

I had the sense that some of the background strangeness in Night Vale that slows down the pace of the novel were actual clever references or cameos directed to regular listeners. Fans of the podcast will surely enjoy this Night Vale adventure and I’m looking into it for the next time I need an audio adventure.

Overall, Welcome to Night Vale is a slow-paced surrealistic novel that is ultimately rewarding.