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American Elsewhere

de Robert Jackson Bennett

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
5595032,110 (3.82)70
Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map. In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things. When ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in Wink, New Mexico, she learns that the people of Wink are very, very different...… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 49 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I listened to this via Audible. Didn't read the PB.

I found it to be derivative. Clearly channeling Lovecraft's Great Old Ones. Also, some Dexter. Mona's "fuck" in every sentence was as tedious as Deb's.

The story was good. The narrator was good. I didn't love the way Bennett told the story. It was inconsistent.

I DID listen all the way through because I wanted to see where it was going, in spite of wishing he'd had a better editor. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
First of all, I did enjoy this book... in general. There's a lot to love and I've always been a fan of any book that can cross genres, mixing SF/Fantasy/Horror into a wonderful smoothie. This is my third Bennett book, so I knew what I was getting into.

Unfortunately, I liked this less than the other two: [b:City of Stairs|20174424|City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)|Robert Jackson Bennett|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1394545220s/20174424.jpg|28030792] and [b:City of Blades|23909755|City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2)|Robert Jackson Bennett|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1426255519s/23909755.jpg|43516764].

It's kinda surprising, actually. I grew up in New Mexico, so getting the flavors and the horrors of the location should have been so nice, and I did enjoy the nostalgia, as far as that went. I knew to expect an epic blowout, too, so that was something I really wanted to see. Fortunately, I'm given that treat as well.

The small-town oddities devolved into a small-town family fight, in essence, but because this is Bennett, just expect the consequences to get way out of hand. As in universe-shaping uglies duking it out in all the old grand traditions of the genres, but localized in a sleepy New Mexican town. It's nice. Very nice. Full props for ideas and exploration and twists within the characters we get to know.

But here's where it's not so great: The pacing has a lot to be desired. It suffers from that old horror-cliche where a lot of digressions fill up most of the book. Sometimes it is in the service of the greater story, and sometimes it isn't.

I could easily overlook all of that if it wasn't for just one little thing: we probably didn't need the long and painful explanations. I think the novel would have been stronger if it rested on the hints and profound eerie-ness and suppositions. It just wasn't set up right for an epic denouement of gods releasing all their secrets, IMHO. It took away from the horror and the tension, big-time, even if it satisfied some of my SF roots.

So, in effect, I'd have preferred a fully "Show, don't Tell" resolution. It might have been just fine to omit the offending passages, after all, the action was there and it was quite enjoyable.

If I were in a more forgiving mood, I probably would have just given this a full five stars and be done with it, but I've read those other works of his and they didn't suffer from this complaint, or at least not nearly as badly as here.

Putting this in context with other Horrors and SF, there's still a lot to love and I don't want to steer anyone away from this novel. If you forgive a bit of meandering and exposition (common traits in Horror and SF, respectively,) then I'm certain you'll be all over this like flies on a cowpie. :)

Always expect big things under the surface with Bennett. :) I have yet to be dissatisfied with his idea-wrangling. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
A somewhat decent read. It had a solid story, with characters you could get to know and come to care about. I enjoyed the fact that the author gave the world a somewhat Lovecraftian feel, without making the story seem like a clone of many of those out there. His description of certain things was certainly thorough, painting a picture in your head without taking up too much page space. (Looking at you Jordan, Tolkein, etc.)

Unfortunately, I couldn't fully enjoy the story. There was a glaring error in one part of the book where the protagonists hands were tied, then weren't tied, then were tied and only holding a knife, but then she cut the bonds and she's holding a knife and a mirror when she's freed herself.

And adding extra characters for the sake of having characters. There were easily dozen characters and there stories that could have been removed from the book and story wouldn't have been affected at all.

Then there's the writing style. He keeps hopping back between present tense and past tense on everything. I don't mind books written in either stance, but it gets aggravating when you keep hopping back and forth between the two.

Overall, a 3 out of 5. A revision fixing the above issues would easily receive 5 stars from me. ( )
  tebyen | May 27, 2020 |
Wink, New Mexico. Lovely town, nestled between the mesa and the mountains. Hard to find - not on the maps. Grew up around the government lab on the mesa, but no one talks about that anymore. Definitely retro, a real 1950s vibe, but its people are fine with that, they say. Life goes along well, as long as they avoid the forests and canyons outside town. As long as they stay indoors at night.

To Wink comes Mona Bright, who has just inherited a house in the town. She inherited it from her mother, the mother she remembers as a quiet, fearful woman, who never mentioned an earlier life in New Mexico. Who committed suicide when Mona was just seven. The townspeople don't remember Laura Bright, but they are perturbed that Mona arrived during the funeral of the town's most prominent citizen, who was murdered. And that particular man should have been immune to murder.

I was in the room when the book won the Shirley Jackson Award for best novel in 2013. Reading it now, during the COVID-19 epidemic, seemed fitting somehow, although there's no plague in the story. There's a lot else, though, in this horror story, about power, community, and denial. It feels much more in the vein of Lovecraft than Jackson, putting humans in a small oasis in a vast, hostile universe. The Jackson connection comes from the small town with a big secret, I guess.

If you're looking for something even more horrifying than the evening news, this probably won't get you there, but it's a fat (almost 700 pages) and satisfying read. ( )
1 vota dukedom_enough | Apr 9, 2020 |
Enjoyable, but I'm not sure quite what it was trying to be? There were moments of social criticism, but they were never taken far enough to actually say anything about America. However, as Lovecraftian fiction, it was far too obvious, it almost feels as if the author hasn't read too much of the field.

Overall, quick read, and it kept me going, but probably more to see what might have happened, mores than what actually was written. ( )
  Loryndalar | Mar 19, 2020 |
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Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map. In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things. When ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in Wink, New Mexico, she learns that the people of Wink are very, very different...

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