Strange new fiction — mix of fantasy, sci-fi and weird contemporary
May 17, 2018
by Chuck Palahniuk
I have been a die-hard Palahniuk fan for years. It has been a very long time since he's released a novel, and even longer, in my opinion, since he's written anything good at all. That being said, the current political climate that we live in is the perfect backdrop for Palahniuk's voice, and this is a story that only he could tell.
His brutal ideologies and ferocious satire come together to create a fascinating look at what we could become if given over to every conspiracy theory brewing in the depths of our country. It's a bizarre, yet insightful, view into the dichotomous nature of identity politics and how our country might currently be more vulnerable than we think. This is Palahniuk back at his best, and I highly recommend it.
“The Shape of Water”
by Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus
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There are many books I love. There are fewer books that have become a part of me and even fewer that I feel have changed me in one way or another. For reasons that I still don't quite entirely understand, this book was instantly one of them.
I could write up a quick summary of “The Shape of Water,” but the cover already has that for you. I could also go on an hour-long tangent about every little splendid thing about this book, complete with crying my eyes out and blubbering everywhere in public like I did while reading it, but I can't do that here, either.
What I will do is tell you, fellow reader, that you should just do yourself a favor and pick up this book. As someone who has never before enjoyed the romance genre, this book ripped into my chest and pulled out my heart. The writing is like water — fluid and lovely and heavy — and these characters are some of the most fleshed-out and realistic characters I have ever encountered. I have still not yet watched the movie, but whether you've seen it or not, I have to say, to everyone, everywhere; Read. This. Book.
“All Things Bright and Strange”
by James Markert
Bellhaven, South Carolina is an unusually tolerant town in a time when racial and religious tensions are high in America. Despite the tragedy that has devastated the place, the townsfolk are close and look out for one another. And everyone knows the most important rule: Do not go into the Bellhaven woods.
Ellsworth Newberry is an elderly widower, ravaged physically and mentally by his time spent at war, trying to piece the rest of his life together. When news arises of a mysterious chapel in the woods that is supposedly healing people and allowing them to talk to loved ones who have passed on, Ellsworth is initially just as excited as the next man, but he and his crew quickly realize that even the most beautiful of things are not always what they seem. As the people of Bellhaven begin to turn on each other, Ellsworth must find the root of this supernatural evil and destroy it.
This is not only a wonderful work of love, loss and redemption. It is a powerful tale of tolerance, vanquishing generalizations to come together despite our differences and the consequences we must face when the past comes back around to bite us.
These titles are available at Off the Beaten Path and Bud Werner Memorial Library.
Marissa Mattson is the event coordinator at Off the Beaten Path bookstore.