Illustration by Claire Mead
REVIEW: Welcome to Nightvale
‘A friendly desert community, where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.’
These words that first welcomed listeners to the world of Night Vale are reiterated at the beginning of Welcome To Night Vale: A Novel. Hilarious and compelling, the book allows creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor to extend the weird and wonderful world of Night Vale beyond the limits of the podcast that first introduced it. In the podcast, we were transported to the town through radio broadcasts by, ‘the voice of Night Vale’ Cecil Palmer. In the book, we spend more time with him as well as other citizens of the community that are just trying to make sense of the strange things that keep happening.
Both the podcast and book create a stunning, surreal reality featuring the most unexpected of people and places. The world of Night Vale is absurd, but not beyond our grasp. Infusing the illogical with the relatable, the writers comment subtly and effectively on situations that we experience in daily life. In this book, they write about the difficulties of being a mother with a teenage son and the way in which we deal with change or a puzzle you cannot solve (like an indestructible piece of paper with just KING CITY written on it or a colleague that not longer seems to exist). As suggested in the prologue, Night Vale might be more like your town than you imagine. Although, it is true that your town might not have a diner that only serves invisible food. Or, a pizzeria that is struggling because wheat and wheat by-products have been outlawed.
If you have a little bit of time to escape into a strange new world, do read (or listen to) this novel.