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American Elsewhere

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,977 ratings  ·  388 reviews
Some places are too good to be true.
Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map.
In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things.
After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother's pas
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Paperback, 662 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Orbit (first published 2013)
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The Republic of Thieves by Scott LynchA Memory of Light by Robert JordanEmperor of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceThe Daylight War by Peter V. BrettThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Can't Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2013
106th out of 617 books — 3,223 voters
Pines by Blake CrouchWayward by Blake CrouchThe Last Town by Blake CrouchThe Stepford Wives by Ira LevinAmerican Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
Small Towns With Secrets
5th out of 30 books — 28 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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seak
I gotta get this out of my system right off the bat. I don't like the cover to this book. It doesn't stand out, it's only mildly representative of the story, which is rich and vibrant (i.e., bland and boring), and it's just plain blah. Hate it.

Whew, that felt good. Now back to our regularly-scheduled review.

Other than the cover, this novel was brilliant, as I already expected after reading only one other book by Robert Jackson Bennett. That book, The Troupe, happened to be my favorite book of 2
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Bibliophile
This is a lovely horror story about the American dream gone badly wrong, to put it mildly. The idyllic small town of Wink in New Mexico is full of well-tended lawns, content housewives and afternoon martinis on the porch. Time seems to stand still (except when Time completely derails)and nobody has set foot outside the town for years. Of course, unspeakable evil lurks in the night, and the inhabitants wisely turn a blind eye to the nasty goings-on in the woods and make "arrangements" in order to ...more
Kaora
I'm not quite sure what I expected when I picked this up, but it wasn't that. In a good way.

The blurb for this was pretty straightforward. Strange smalltown with perfectly manicured lawns, suspicious residents with secrets. Similar to many other books that I have read.

However, this book quickly turned the typical strange but seemingly perfect small town on its ass, becoming a mindfuck of a book that kept me transfixed to the very end. And I loved every second of it.

Robert Jackson Bennett contin
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Jason
4.5 Stars

I am a huge fan Robert Jackson Bennett and I cannot wait to read all of his works. American Elsewhere is a mysterious horror novel that has many great things to love.

First, there is the unusual town and location of this novel a called Wink. A small south western town that does not show up on any maps. We are treated to several chapters involved with our heroine just trying to find this place in New Mexico.

Second, the lead character Mona is tough, smart, and not your stereo typical youn
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Bonnie
‘...it is always quiet near homes like this, and it is always ill-advised to venture out at night in Wink. Everyone knows that. Things could happen.’

After her estranged father suffers a stroke, Mona Bright uncovers documents revealing she inherited a house from her late mother in a town called Wink, New Mexico. Not having anywhere to call home she decides to set out to see this house in this strange town that she has never heard of. Wink becomes extremely hard to find, not being on any maps as
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Michael Smith
Two stars feels sort of harsh, but the definition given by this site is 'it was ok', and that pretty much sums up my feelings about this book.

This novel has both horror and science fiction aspects and both of them were a little lacking. As a horror novel, it lacked much true 'creepiness'. Most of the novel is spent describing over and over how the town of Wink is different and that there are all of these unspoken rules, and that the residents know to just go about their business and keep their h
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Charles Dee Mitchell
When her alcoholic father dies, ex-cop Mona Bright discovers that part of her inheritance is a house once owned by her mother in the town of Wink, New Mexico. Mona's mother committed suicide, and Mona has all the unresolved issues that history provides. She wants to see the house, if for no other reason than to sell it, but she cannot find Wink on the map or any evidence that the town exists. When she does discover it, it is "picture postcard pefect." In other words, it is too good to be true, c ...more
Gatorman
An amazing novel from Bennett, this complex story of aliens, the search for perfect happiness and sibling rivalry is reminiscent of American Gods in its writing and scope. The characters come to life in such a way that you begin to feel connections with them even though they are quite different from you and I. The writing is top-notch, proving Bennett to be a master of his craft and a name that should be known to all who love to be scared and enthralled at the same time. The ending is more than ...more
Amy Macris
Mona Bright is no stranger to loss. She lost her mother at the tender age of five, and the trauma of that sudden, unexpected loss has come to define her life. Now she has lost her father, coming on the heels of the loss of her career in law enforcement, her husband, and her unborn daughter. When she finds she has inherited her mother's house in the small town of Wink, New Mexico, she sets out to claim what is left of her mother's legacy, to attempt to unearth anything she can find about this wom ...more
Gerhard
Wow. This is my WTF, utterly gonzo, batshit-weird horror novel of the year. Carnivale meets Twin Peaks via Transformers, with healthy dollops of Stephen King, Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft.

The ‘darkness / unknown things behind a small-town façade’ theme reached perfection with Clifford Simak and Ray Bradbury, and one can hardly imagine that these masters can be bettered.

Robert Jackson Bennett, however, not only pays homage to, but totally transcends, the theme.

Just when you think you know wher
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Jon Recluse
Take an homage to small town America, circa 1950. Mix in a healthy dose of science fiction from that decade, filtered through a contemporary sensibility. Add a dash of mystery and present in a style best described as "literary".
What you wind up with in this case is something that is more than the sum of it's parts. American Elsewhere is an incredible book, and that's coming from someone who hates science fiction.

Paige Morgan
If Tana French, and Jonathan Carroll, and H.P. Lovecraft got together for a wild orgy and had a baby-- er, a book -- then that would be this story.

It is a very weird book; in fact, weird enough that it's hard for me to classify it, exactly. Bennett is working with territory that I don't usually deal with, and so it's hard for me to evaluate how well he succeeds -- but he mostly convinced me that he succeeded in what he set out to do, and that it was worth doing. I appreciated the fact that he se
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Sarah
SPOILERS AHEAD

23/10 - I've been reading this for seven days now, and it's continuing to baffle me - in a good way.

The town of Wink, New Mexico seems to be inhabited by some type of either aliens or supernatural beings who are hiding as humans. Mona Bright comes along looking for information about her mother, and for unexplained reasons (probably something to do with who, or what, her mother was, but it's not clear) she can see the different layers of reality that exist in Wink. Just as she arr
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Dan ☼
I'm still not sure what drew me into this book -- that's always the fun, right, those random books you just feel like you MUST read, for no reason at all? That was American Elsewhere. I had never heard of it until a chance encounter on a bookshelf in a San Jose library.

Figuring it wouldn't hurt to open it up, the storyline pulled me in from the beginning. There was something surreal there, but not lacking in heart, or in plot. The story becomes a wonderfully rich portrayal of a unique community
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Szeee
Hátöööö....

- nagyon jól ír Bennett, tényleg
- ennél fogva a hangulat is tökre átjön: rózsaszín hold, kihalt, vörös sziklás új-mexikói vidék, Roy Orbison szól az autórádióban
- ennél fogva elég hatásosan borzongatóak a horror részek, a párbeszédek pedig totál élethűek, amihez a remek fordítás is hozzájárul
- marha érdekes, a valóságot megrepesztő tudományos kutatás is van benne
- valamint párhuzamos univerzumok, kizökkent idő
- őszinte és valós érzelmek
- klassz mondanivaló

Viszont:
- fura lények
- milli
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David Harris
I don't think it's possible to praise this too highly - I'm tempted just burble on about how good it is but I'll try and focus: a gushing review is no use to anyone.

Robert Jackson Bennett succeeds in producing what I never thought I'd see, a (loosely) Lovecraftian horror story that manages to evoke real terror and at the same time both to draw a believable landscape and setting and sympathetic, believable characters. The setting is one I don't know at all in real life - small town America - but
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Judey
I could hardly wait to give this book a review. I devoured it happily and thought about it when I wasn't able to read it.

Yes, I could see Stephen King writing it. Yes, it was kind of neil Gaiman, I see American Gods in here, too. I see more Phillip Pullman, though.
Bennett takes a humdrum story of an ex-policewoman-drifter, turns her on her ear, gives her an unhappy remembrance of childhood, a Stepford town (Shirley Jackson is in here, too!), a dash of the alien, some Donnie Darko.

Ah, I'm babbli
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Jeanette
Rates, for me, a 3.5 star, but I had to stretch it to a 4 because it kept me going with some considerable interest for nearly 700 pages, which is no mean feat nowadays. Tending to loss patience with duplicates of intense characterization and too many red herrings of sidetrack used to fill with gratuitous violence or effect, I usually abandon. And both of those situations occurred here in abundance.

It's a behemoth. For nearly 150 pages, somewhere near the middle, it became so redundant in fact an
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Mike
Imagine, if you will, the perfect town; immaculately groomed lawns, quiet streets, perfect houses, smiling faces, and no crime to speak of. Wink, New Mexico is just such a town though as Mona Bright learns upon her arrival such perfection comes at a price. There are places in Wink that you just don’t go, things you just don’t do, and thoughts you aren’t aloud to think. There are secrets hidden behind the immaculate walls and picturesque homes and the Mesa it sits beneath, home to an abandoned re ...more
Mia
After reading 'The Troupe' and now 'American Elsewhere', I have developed certain expectations of a Robert Jackson Bennett novel. I expect it to be sweeping in scope and breadth. It will cross genres-- science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery. The prose will be poetic and beautiful, the tone will be eerie and portentous.

'American Elsewhere' is a sprawling tale. It is long, excursive and meandering, at times even indulgent, but all is necessary to tell this audacious tale. Bennett has much to sa
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Gordon Howard
Sorry. This is one of the very few books that I started but just gave up on. I read the first chapter and said "Did I make a mistake purchasing this book?" I just didn't seem to relate to the premise of the book at that point. I continued reading and I had some hope for the book as I followed Mona to the city of Wink, meeting the town's people and finding the house that her mother left to her. So far, so good. Then we move to the valley, Mr. First, and the strange things happening. I have read a ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Best novel of 2013 so far and the best Robert Jackson Bennett book to date. Like his previous novella, To Be Read Upon Your Waking, American Elsewhere is both a homage and a critic to H.P. Lovecraft, being as terrifying and as haunting, but is written in a much better prose, with less adjectives, with a little humor and with some great female characters. And the love story between the two women is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking I've read in the last couple of years. HPL must be scre ...more
Tracey
I loved the first 400 pages, but then the book took a turn that I didn't particulary enjoy and it never found its way back. My first impression was that this was a really smart novel examining the ideas revolving around leaky spots in the space/time continum. But then it became this rather ridculously silly human drama, with petty siblings who look like....giant squids or some such creature. And Mona, she's just a dull and rather insipid protagonist. Not much in here for me it turns out...
Andris
Vecais labais stāsts par cilvēku milzīgajām ambīcijām veicot līdz galam neizprotamus eksperimentus un to baisajām sekām. Par zinātnisku lūrēšanu durvju actiņā, nepadomājot, ka kāds var skatīties pretī.
Īsts starpžanru kišmiš. Ir gan fantastika, gan fantāzija, gan šausmas, gan ģimenes drāma. Ņemot vērā, ka jau aptuveni pēc pirmās trešdaļas lielos vilcienos viss ir skaidrs, tad grāmata varēja būt par kādām 150-200 lpp īsāka un no tā tikai iegūtu, jo vietām sižets šķita pārāk izstiepts. Un izšķirošā
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Liz Wilkins
**4.5 stars**
Some places are too good to be true.
Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map.
In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things.
After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother’s home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother’s past, the more she understands that the people of Wink are very, very different …

This was a weird and wonderful story
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Ctgt
Jul 03, 2013 Ctgt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: weird
I read The Company Man several years ago and added Mr. Shivers and The Troupe to my tbr list but had not read either book yet. I saw this at the library and decided to give it a go. I can't say there is anything all that special about his style of prose, sentence structure or use of language, what I do know is that I love the stories he tells. This has a bit of a Lovecraft vibe and has several mysteries that kept my interest piqued throughout the book.

Upon the death of her father, Mona discovers
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Jenny
I give this 4 stars for two reasons: it's incredibly well written and that's not easy to do with this type of story, and it kept me engaged till the end - also not easy to do. It's a simple story, though it doesn't look it: some silly science types mess about with time and space, open a rift between dimensions and let some beasties through. I can't say I completely bought what Jackson Bennett was selling - the whole mummy issues business really bugged me by the end - but I do think he did a pret ...more
Ab
Fantastic. I was afraid that a so-labeled "scifi" book clocking six-hundred-some-odd-pages was going to fall into the many waiting traps, such as: boring boring boring boring; begin story line, then quickly meander into nonsense and boredom; develop into epic quest of Good versus Evil (as thinly veiled God versus The Devil); lead me on a long long treck only to drop me off a cliff in the end ... BUT! None of this happened, I'm happy (and amazed) to say.

I really don't think there's any adequate
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Julie
What happens when eldritch horrors fall in love with the kitschy 1950s American Dream? Terrible, terrible things, that's what.

The premise in a nutshell: Mona Bright, former cop, inherits her mother's old house in a small New Mexico town that no one's ever heard of. She goes there to find out more about the mother who died when she was a child, only to discover that in Wink, things are very much not as they seem.

I've heard this described as "Twin Peaks meets Lovecraft". I'm still loving reading R
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Karen
This book is long. Part of my selection process in books is typically the longer the better, if it keeps me engaged, I never want it to end. That is what I was hoping for from this book, perfect America gone just a little bit wrong...

Normally this is completely my cup of tea, but there was something a little lacking in this book. Towards the end I started to get close to that 'can't put it down place', but that was well past the 3/4 mark. It's not as though it was poorly written,or that the aut
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Robert Jackson Bennett's 2010 debut Mr. Shivers won the Shirley Jackson award as well as the Sydney J Bounds Newcomer Award. His second novel, The Company Man, is currently nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award as well as an Edgar Award. His third novel, The Troupe, arrives in stores on the 21st of February.

He lives in Austin with his wife and son. He can be found on Twitter at @robertjbennett. Sin
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More about Robert Jackson Bennett...
City of Stairs Mr. Shivers The Troupe The Company Man To Be Read Upon Your Waking

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“The older you get, the more voices you get in the back of your head.” 7 likes
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