Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel
by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Harper Perennial, 2015
416 pages / $11.99 buy from Amazon
Good news! The Welcome to Night Vale novel is just like the podcast. Bad news: The Welcome to Night Vale novel is just like the podcast. The podcast is amazing, absurdist fun, but what makes it work is that it’s broken up into digestible, thirty-minute chunks. The novel still maintains the same fun, absurd charm as the show, but the sort of repetitious jokes which would be funny in audio format are turgid when presented in prose. The novel is still worth reading if you’re a fan of the podcast, though. I found the plotline involving Diane and her teenage son, Josh, a shapeshifter who spends an affecting driving lesson scene as a wolf spider, especially poignant. The 1-2 punch of pathos followed by a joke works well enough, but I’m unconvinced that that’s enough to really draw in and hold a reader that’s never heard or enjoyed the podcast before. Thus, I don’t think this book will function as anything more than ephemera for an already cultish audience.
There’s only a week left until Halloween! In addition to the #VERYSCARY series, we’ll be featuring some capsule reviews this week of some of the spookier books that have come out this year to get you prepped for the best day of the year.