Reviewed by Dennis Menard
This book is weird, although, dear reader, the label “weird” to me is normally a complement. Nothing is truly weirder than real life. I believe the most bizarre, best fiction is usually “hamburger helpered” along thinly-disguised non-fiction. But Welcome to Night Vale tried so hard to be weird it had a Jekyll and Hyde quality to it. There is indeed some splendid writing. But this is mixed with odd, peculiar, and useless appendages seemingly scotch taped on. It made me feel the author might suffer split personality disorder. Then, upon closer inspection, I realized the book was co-authored, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Just as “too many cooks spoil the broth,” I feel the same can often be applied toward writers, and plots. And such is the case of this book.
I vividly picture the book not written by two writers. I imagine only one actual, talented, writer. The other, I surmise, more a mad, blue pencil editor. This “editor” upon reading each completed paragraph would, Norma Desmond-like, in a tantrum emphasize: “I want it WEIRDER!’ Then, after furiously fluttering the paragraph in the writer’s face would shout: ‘Now WRITE,’ and storm dramatically out of the room.
However, enough intriguingly good writing there was for me to persevere through the “weird for the sake of weird” parts to finish reading the book. I would, however, not personally highly recommend it.
Dennis Menard is an artist. You can find his work at dennismenard.nl.
There is an ebook of Welcome to Night Vale available here.
The podcast the book is based on can be found here.