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American Elsewhere Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316200204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316200202
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mona Bright, a former police officer, is surprised to learn that she’s inherited a house from her deceased mother. She’s even more surprised to learn that the house is located in Wink, New Mexico, a town that, according to various sources, including maps, doesn’t seem to exist. Curious to learn more about her mother’s past and about this odd little town, Mona takes up residence in the house. But she didn’t count on Wink being full of dark secrets and on the people of the town being determined to keep them that way. The novel starts out curious and odd but quickly becomes terrifying and haunting, as the author reveals more about the people of Wink, who just may be the most curious and intimidating collection of folks you’re likely to meet outside the pages of Stephen King. We, like Mona, feel the town closing in on us, trying to take us over. A beautifully written, claustrophobic, and deeply memorable horror novel. --David Pitt

Review

"American Elsewhere conjures up echoes of the best works of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. ... American Elsewhere manages to surprise, terrify and move the reader."—Los Angeles Times

"This wonderful offering is perfect for fans of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman."—Library Journal

"Highly impressive."—Kirkus Reviews

"Bennett's novel may remind readers of the early works of Stephen King, presenting a small town where nothing is what it seems.... Bennett's work also evokes a mood similar to that of Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, where every darkness may swallow a person only to spit them out into a place akin to Wonderland."—RT Book Reviews

"Bennett gives the idealized image of the American dream a pan-dimensional twist with this alien invasion tale, part Bradbury and part L'Engle with a dash of Edward Scissorhands... Readers will be captivated from start to finish."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on American Elsewhere

"The novel starts out curious and odd but quickly becomes terrifying and haunting, as the author reveals more about the people of Wink, who just may be the most curious and intimidating collection of folks you're likely to meet outside the pages of Stephen King.... A beautifully written, claustrophobic, and deeply memorable horror novel."—Booklist

"Mad and humorous, gory and poignant, American Elsewhere is a sort of mid-20th-century retelling of the embodiment of Lovecraftian Elder Gods by way of Alamogordo's legendary atomic tests. It's not to be missed.—Seattle Times

"So American Elsewhere is basically so good that I want to camp outside @robertjbennett's house until he tells me his secret."—Adam Christopher

Customer Reviews

Good story line, good characters, and written well.
Steve H.
I highly recommend this to fans that enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy and Horror genres.
Van @ Short and Sweet reviews
Our main character remains remarkably undeveloped throughout the book.
Bartholomew Breva

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Susannah St Clair Foxy Loxy VINE VOICE on March 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderfully Creepy

There are several really great reviews for this book. I know because I read them . TChris has the most perfect. It says it all and he says it WELL. But just for the record, its a GREAT book! I like how it slowly unwinds . The gentle oddities, the weirdness within this very attractive little town that pulls you in. Reminds me of a train pulling out of the station. Slowly, ever so slowly accelerating and then whoosh... off it goes and your reader along with it.
The language is fun and interesting. The characters vivid. Mrs. Benjamin is my all time favorite. As the story unfolds the mystery about Wink unfolds and it turns into a delightful science fiction nightmare. Delightful because your really not sure where this ride is taking you let alone how it might end. I just enjoyed the strangeness of it all. I loved the way the horror, mystery and science fiction were woven like a brilliantly colored glass necklace where there are drops of gold and drops of blood all along the length of it.
Such a great fantasy. The imagination running at top speed. If your an avid reader of anything unusual and different, this book is for you.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
Robert Jackson Bennett is a masterful creator of unclassifiable fiction. Is American Elsewhere science fiction, fantasy, or a horror story? Is it a crime novel? A mystery? A satire? Is it an allegory of insular life in small town America, a commentary on intolerance of outsiders? A send-up of the illusory wholesomeness of small town life? A wry take on motherhood and dysfunctional families? Maybe it's a conundrum wrapped in a paradox soaked in a one hundred proof fever dream. Fortunately, you don't have to categorize American Elsewhere to enjoy it.

The quirky residents of Wink know there are places in Wink you just don't go. It's best, in fact, to stay inside at night. You might want to gaze at the moon, but you're never really sure whose sky it's in. You don't ever go into the woods because you might encounter ... well, nobody in Wink really wants to talk about that. Other things about Wink are strange -- rooms you enter that keep going forever, mirrors that relocate the objects they reflect, the way time is broken (or maybe it's just bruised). People don't want to talk about that either. In fact, they can't, under penalty of ... well, they can't talk about the penalty, but you wouldn't want to experience it.

Mona Bright, a former cop, can barely remember her mother. When her father dies, she is surprised to learn that she has inherited her mother's house -- surprised to learn that the house exists, in a town she's never heard of in New Mexico. Mona's mother worked for a lab outside of Wink that did research into quantum states. These days, Wink is difficult to find, as Mona discovers when she searches for it. She arrives just in time to disrupt the funeral of Mr. Weringer, Wink's most popular resident and a victim (if you believe the rumors) of homicide.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Van @ Short and Sweet reviews on March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
3 1/2 stars. (rounded up)

Mona Bright is an Ex-cop who is always on the road going from places to place, unsure what to make of her life after the devastating death of her unborn child and divorce. Then suddenly she finds out that her dad has passed away, though she has never been close with her father. With his death she inherits all of his belongs, which includes a hot cherry red muscle car and a house...which surprisingly was once her mother's. She never knew her mother gave the deeds to her father, but life must be looking up if she got a new car and house; she just needs to go to Wink, New Mexico a place she never heard of let alone seen on a map.

After a lot of research and guess-timation on the location of Wink, Mona eventually finds it. The small town of Wink is like a flash back of the 1950s, everything is perfect with neat little houses with white picket fence, flawlessly trimmed lawn and trees and everyone seems like a cozy tight knit town where everyone knows everything about everyone else. All Mona wants is to find out more about her mother's history and who she was before she committed suicide. Mona questions everyone in town and digs nonstop for more information about her mom, and soon she discover A LOT she didn't know about her mom's past and that the town of Wink isn't what it seems to be.

My first impression on reading American Elsewhere was that I've stepped into the Twilight Zone, especially when Mona arrives in Wink, New Mexico. The people of Wink were astounded when they first see Mona driving down the street in Wink, because Wink hasn't had anyone going in or out of the town for thirty years.
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Format: Paperback
(Full disclosure: I received a free advanced review copy of this book through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program.)

Welcome to Wink, where the sky meets the earth - and bumps up against the skies of infinite other worlds!

No matter how far or long her travels, Mona Bright has never felt as though she belonged; never felt at home, or even whole, deep down in the innermost reaches of her soul. Her chronically depressed, possibly schizophrenic mother committed suicide when Mona was just four years old; after Laura's death, Mona and her alcoholic father Earl resumed their nomadic lifestyle, chasing odd jobs through the southwest and finding common ground only in hunting blinds and improvised shooting ranges. As soon as she turned 18, Mona left home, eventually settling down in Houston where she became a police officer. She met a guy, fell in love, became pregnant - only to have to her hopes of fresh starts and second chances destroyed in one tragic instant. With this, Mona resumed a life of drinking and wandering. Running, you might say.

The source of Mona's malaise never required a supernatural explanation. That is, until she lands in Wink, New Mexico.

Upon her father's death, Mona unexpectedly inherits a house that her mother, Laura Gutierrez Alvarez, purchased before her life with Earl and Mona. Set in the shadow of the Coburn National Laboratory and Observatory, the town of Wink was established in the `60s as a support for the government-funded research lab. Though Coburn is long deserted, the town remains - and in an idyllic state: despite its harsh desert climate, all the lawns in Wink are forever green and perfectly manicured. The sky is always a brilliant shade of blue, and at night an oddly pink moon shines down upon the residents.
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