"Neff's novel is so packed with crackling language, with brilliant phrasings, that every page is a linguistic delight."
- Wendy Barker
Award Winning Poet
"All The Dark We Will Not See" is a compelling, utterly original novel that savagely and hilariously explores what went wrong in this country a couple of decades ago, and that keeps going wrong even now. Neff is a raucous new voice in American literature.
- Robert Olen Butler
Michael Neff's debut novel is a stunning performance--a book that puts me in mind of Mark Twain after a ten year prison term locked in a cell with Laurence Sterne.
- Robert Bausch
Author of "Bruce Almighty"
An uncomfortable read that highlights the gross misinterpretation of laws for the purpose of corruption, political gain, and corporate greed. The writing style is part exquisitely written prose, fever dream, and includes a dose of realism to keep the storyline cohesive. The vocabulary used is expansive and a lot of the references felt more suited for insiders of the time period. The most interesting and captivating part of the novel is the way Neff uses point of view, which is alternated between second and third person. The use of second person allows the reader to be an extension of the character and obtain an odd sense of disassociation that was absolutely perfect for this novel. There are several other writing technique employed to keep the text feeling fresh. For example, poetry, journals, and letters all add to the depth and texture of this book.
- The Online Book Club
Classical and postmodern, Neff's novel captures a world where surreal is the norm. Set during the Reagan era, eerily evocative of my tour at the Pentagon during the Nixon era (when "loyalty" meant blind obedience), it turns out to be prescient of what's happening today in Washington. As reported last week in the New Yorker and on Sixty Minutes, Thomas Drake, a former Air Force officer, NSA intelligence expert, and conservative Republican, faces thirty-five years in prison for leaking info to a congressional oversight committee about massive waste and ineptitude at NSA that contributed to the intelligence failure leading up to 9/11. It happened during George W's administration, but the current "administration of change" continues to press the case. Good deeds being punished will make perfect sense after reading Neff's brilliant work of fiction.
- Nancy Abramson
Writer and Book Reviewer
"All The Dark We Will Not See" accurately portrays an important period in American political history wherein the struggle for democracy took a wrong turn ...
- Thomas Devine, Chief Counsel
Government Accountability Project in D.C.
From the Author
All The Dark We Will Not See
is a historical novel based on a true story that takes us back to 1984 Washington, D.C. It allows us to live a life both profound and pedestrian, yet frighteningly real, and at times, even surreal. The foundational circumstance is the aftermath of a major corporate siege that overthrew the city and planted its flags in full view of the Reagan White House. Many of us who worked in Washington watched it happen with a predictable sense of awe and foreboding. We all had tales to tell, tales that few outside the city would ever believe.
When the novel was first conceived many years later, serious issues presented themselves for consideration, first and foremost being point of view. It would be relatively simple to create a White House character for purposes of observing insider intrigue and criminality--a Reagan apostle like Peggy Noonan, for example. But given my own experience in the bowels of the Executive, and having observed and studied the trickle-down effect of White House psychology and political culture, I realized the story would be better served by adopting the viewpoint of those who were a few degrees removed from the rarefied air of the Oval Office. The story would be told not by characters who wielded power like narcissist sociopaths, but by those who lived daily with the consequences of it, and who either resisted or amplified that power for their own ends.
Everyone in 1984 Washington who opposed the Leviathan, who put their reputations and lives on the line regardless of political affiliation, did so not because they desired glory, but because they still believed in a world where right would win out. Most lived to be terribly disappointed, for "doing the right thing" rarely if ever made a difference during that era--now glossed over by many and made to appear like a Camelot interlude.
Regardless, despite their reversals and the drama played out during those years of turmoil, redemption and hope are found in the knowledge that real heroes struggled to do the right thing for us, however futile that struggle often became. Some succeeded, others failed, but their sacrifices and battles, their enemies and betrayers, as detailed in "All The Dark We Will Not See," reveal an injustice none of us can afford to ignore. As Dostoyevsky once said, "Tyranny is a habit, it grows upon us."