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American Elsewhere Paperback – February 12, 2013
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"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
More About the Author
He lives in Austin with his wife and son. He can be found on Twitter at @robertjbennett.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Mona Bright has inherited a home in Wink that belonged to her mother who died when Mona was just five years old. Her mother had worked as a physicist at the laboratory before marrying her father. Mona sees this as an opportunity to learn more about her.
The theme of the book is mothers; what a mother should be and how children view them. Mona is searching for her lost mother and so are the inhabitants of Wink. They feel abandoned and long for her to return. Yet was their progenitor right to do what she did and what were her motives?
This fantasy novel explores theories on pan-dimensional reality. The laboratory was doing quantum physics research on bumping or "bruising" dimensions adjacent to ours when something came through.
Even though this book was long, it was an engaging and quick read. I enjoyed the New Mexico setting. I could picture the landscape and the people who populate Wink. The plot was sometimes creepy and strange, but I never lost interest. The only problem I had was with the main character Mona. She always seemed a few steps behind in understanding what was going on. Her character is important so the reader should think she is awed or confused about the bizarre occurrences not totally slow and dense. I understood everything long before she did which I found frustrating. Otherwise, this book was a fun read and I will be looking for more books by this author.
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.
In the first half, we are given a mystery. After settling her dead father's estate, ex-cop-with-a-painful-past Mona Bright finds out that she has inherited a house in Wink, New Mexico. Wink and the property become even a bigger puzzle for her when she discovers that her mother, before she was Mrs. Laura Bright—the woman who suffered from bouts of mania and depression and who later took her own life—was once a Dr. Laura Alvarez, PhD who worked at the Coburn National Laboratory and Observatory (for which Wink was established as a kind of residential compound for the lab's workers and their families).
After settling into her new house, Mona starts to get to know the residents of Wink, and starts to feel drawn to its picture-perfect world, which is truly something out of a 1950s or 1960s sitcom. Pristine. Polite. Peachy-keen. But something isn't quite right; in fact, something is terribly wrong.
Bennett shows writerly brilliance in creating a sense of unease that reveals itself with a slow hand and a light touch. A lot of it has to do with the setting of the novel. The American Southwest, with its towering mesas, treacherous canyons, and barren valleys, is the picturesque backdrop, and there are often rhapsodic descriptions of the landscape and big sky that give you a sense of vertigo.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Folks, I have no idea how to review this book, and that’s unusual for me. Worse, I can’t even think of a proper category for it. Read morePublished 7 days ago by The Just-About-Average Ms. M
I plowed through this book, hoping for it to come to an interesting conclusion, worth all of the wait. It doesn't. Read morePublished 25 days ago by photochromic
2 Platypires for American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
This just wasn't for me. If it wasn't for my book club I don't think I would have ever finished it. Read more
Mona, a former cop-- a woman who quit the force after a drunken driver injured her and killed her unborn child-- has her ten year bender interrupted by her father's death, and her... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Força Porto!
I read this book in a couple of days. I read a lot and this was a good one.Published 4 months ago by N. Chadwick
I really wanted to live this book more than I did. It seemed ideal for me from the reviews and ratings I saw, and I must admit I found it interesting pretty much the whole way... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sally Pursell
This should be a movie. Main characters are full of surprises. They are very Mysterious and nostalgic, some are suspenseful and scary. Why are they drinking dark Tea. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Elizabeth A. M.
With all of the much-deserved praise for City of Stairs, I feel this gem is getting short-changed. I LOVED THIS BOOK! So compelling, I had to tear myself away to get stuff done. Read morePublished 7 months ago by cyanita
Robert Jackson Bennett has a way of crafting the most human responses to the wildest stimuli. The reader follows along with Mona, nodding and saying "Right?! Read morePublished 8 months ago by Caitlin L.