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By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends Paperback – December 6, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE'LL BE FRIENDS is a David Lynchian nightmare set in a Russian gulag, where its prisoners, guards, traitors, soldiers, lovers, and demons fight for survival and their own rapidly deteriorating humanity. Osborne's debut...is paranoid, cold, brutal, haunting, mystifying (in a good way), and totally unforgettable."--PAUL TREMBLAY, author of The Little Sleep and In the Mean Time

"[A]n opium-laced fever dream, swinging readily between the surreal and the horrifyingly, starkly real. Siberia is a place, metaphoric and literal: It's an inescapable, brutal state of mind. Give in to the voices and let this story deliver its kaleidoscopic nightmare, sly lines, and the truth of a bloody, damaged, beating, human heart." --MONICA DRAKE, author of Clown Girl

"The only thing crueler and weirder than life in Osborne's Stalinist gulag is the afterlife. Wringing an ergot-laced harvest of agony and absurdity from the bleak Siberian tundra, BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE'LL BE FRIENDS manages the nigh-impossible feat of making Kafka's Penal Colony look like a Sweet Valley High romance." --CODY GOODFELLOW, author of Perfect Union, Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, and Radiant Dawn/Ravenous Dusk

"This lyrical spatter of inspired dementia... reminds me of Celine in serious nightmare mode, and yet its brutality is quiet--gentle even. To find yourself enjoying forensic black humor scenes of disgust and revulsion is a tribute to Osborne's writing...." --KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, author of Zanesville, Private Midnight and Enigmatic Pilot

"Like a rat in a bag of deer meat--this is BY THE TIME WE LEAVE talking--[it] scuttles around inside you as you read it, and you come to know that rat as your own heart. And it knows you back, has all along." --STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES, author of It Came from Del Rio

"4.5 out of 5. [E]ven better than expected...will make even the most jaded horror lover squirm. BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE'LL BE FRIENDS is a bleary, opium-addled fever dream from a highly talented new author. Osborne is one to watch."--BLOODY-DISGUSTING.COM
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Swallowdown Press (December 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933929057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933929057
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Impressive debut novel. It's a difficult feat to write something so economical in language and yet so rich in symbols. This book is not for the easily offended but Osborne uses this tapestry of the extremity of human misery and depravity to tell an important story about the things that really matter once human dignity and social niceties have been stripped violently away. I am convinced that I could read this book fifteen more times and find some new layer hidden within its many clever layers everytime.
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Format: Paperback
This book will get inside your head. I promise. JDO's synthesis of brutally concise prose, bizarre mystical imagery, and serpentine plot twists that somehow reverse expectations without feeling gimmicky shows a remarkable level of craft. Osborne's well-researched expositional details of day-to-day life in a Russian prison are juxtaposed against arcane metaphor and transcendental symbolism evoking a sense of unearthly anxiety in the reader. The first half of the book consists of 27 surreal vignettes that introduce you to the savage world inside the walls of the camp. Characters and crucial plot points are bluntly presented without giving away too much context too quickly. The second half of the book contains only two chapters. JDO slows the narrative down to a crawl and you quickly realize that your presumptions about the nature of the story and characters have been wide of the mark. This book begs for a second reading.
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Format: Paperback
J. David Osbourne's BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE'LL BE FRIENDS is one of those rare stories that follows you long after you've finished reading. A nightmare inducing tale set in one of the most surreal and chilling locations you'll ever find, it'll leave you wondering how you got there, what your next move will be, and, most importantly, how you'll ever manage to get the hell out. Opium fevers, black magic, strange customs and guards that piss on you while laughing, Osbourne has created a stunning debut that leaves you demanding more. Click BUY, grab your coat and get ready to have your balls shoved into your stomach. BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE'LL BE FRIENDS is full of monsters just itching to get out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Set on the insides of a Siberian gulag, Osborne's debut novel is something beyond dark and gritty. It's a tense story of grizzled villains and gruesome horror, set in a deadly void where the depravity knows no bounds. The protagonist is Alek Karriker, a former prisoner given guard duty, and there's something seriously wrong with his neck. He and the rest of the people living in this prison are all doing their best just to survive, and while Karriker is tough as nails, he too might break under the pressure.

The other prisoners hate Karriker for accepting the promotion, so they plan to kill him. They also plan to kill the guards, and they're not too kind to their fellow prisoners either. Then there's the prison's nurse, performing sadistic treatments on the half-dead patients living in her clinic. The other guards are slowly going crazy themselves, becoming either hostile or depressed. The gulag is a hard place, and everyone has to endure physical and moral tortures just to keep living. It's brutally cold, there's little food, and absolutely no salvation in sight. The only chance is to escape, the logistics of which demand actions even more disgraceful.

All of this tension is beautifully strung along by Osborne. He has a minimalist style that puts across the simplest and harshest realities like stabs from a prison shiv. Everyone is just a few seconds away from biting at the nearest throat, but there's also gruesome body horror to be had, as well as strange and surreal opium trips. The ending is a strange twist, but I thought that it called back to the earlier sequences of Karriker's surreal nightmares. For fans of horror, history, or just plain unsettling weirdness, this story will stick with you long after you put it down.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Man, it's terse. It's concise. It's well written. You never get the feeling that the author is saying "Look what I know." or "Guess what I mean.". Until the last 5 pages. All hell breaks loose (or the opposite, really), and I was left wondering if I were stupid for feeling let down. I probably am. Every other review here seems to know something that I don't. From the reviews here, I was expecting a life-changing read- like Phil Dick on acid. What I read was a fairly straightforward narrative with some surrealism thrown in with nonchalance, which I appreciate. I like to READ a book, not devour it in a day. The style made me appreciate the time the author took, and the precision is worth noting. But, like a lie, its error lies in its smugness. Which is probably my fault, not the authors, for wanting to believe it. By that, I mean my wanting to see the resolution- the everyone dead- the blood on the snow- the black hole. I was expecting something great, and I got something good. Someone please change my mind, as it's a book that I'd read again, if only for its restraint.
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Format: Paperback
I'll start by saying that the Russian prison setting of this book is realistic and great. The prose is engaging and the characters, while not particularly likable, are intriguing. That said, most of this book is a dream and drug infused build up to a bizarre ending that sneaks up out of the blue. In short, I just didn't get it. Perhaps the author is too subtle or I'm too darn dense. Either way, by the time I left, I was disappointed.
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