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The Library at Mount Char

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  27,548 ratings  ·  5,162 reviews
A missing God.
A library with the secrets to the universe.
A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.

Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.
...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Broadway Books (first published June 2015)
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Popular Answered Questions
Scott Hawkins Hi Kelsey,

I was just typing up a reply saying something like "I love playing the recommend-me-a-book game, but it's tough to come up with good…more
Hi Kelsey,

I was just typing up a reply saying something like "I love playing the recommend-me-a-book game, but it's tough to come up with good recommendations if I only know one book that you--"

Then I remembered I'm on goodreads, and that's not really a problem. It sucks getting old. Anyway, I have recommendations! All of these are things that left me reeling for at least a couple of days.

You might try The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. It's a slow build, but it's got a kind of surreal, not-quite-a-dream, trapped-in-the-suburbs vibe that I really like. I pull that one out and reread it every couple of years. The audiobook version is also excellent.

Kind of in that same surreal/literary vein, there's one called The Orphan Master's Son that I absolutely love. In terms of sheer tour-de-force literary technique, it's one of the strongest books I've ever read. It is PITCH BLACK DARK, however.

This isn't one I recommend to everyone, but you might try a graphic novel called Black Hole by a guy named Charles Burns. It's kind of hard to describe. There's no superheroes or anything--it's about this sort of v.d. epidemic in the 1970s suburbs that turns teenagers into kinda-sorta monsters? Again, dreamy and surreal.

I highly, highly recommend Stephen King's The Long Walk. It's one of his first--he wrote it when he was (I think) an undergrad, well before Carrie. It's a little raw in terms of technique, but it's a sledgehammer of a book.

Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin is one of my all-time favorites.

Last but not least--this one's kind of a long shot in that I didn't see a lot of hard sci-fi in your list, but if you're in the mood to branch out you might try one called Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. It's a real page-turner, and also mind-blowing in a hard science fiction kind of way.

Hopefully at least one of those works for you.

Scott
(less)
Scott Hawkins It's fun! Also, to be honest, I'm still sort trying to adjust to the idea that I have readers. I keep waiting for someone to tell me its all been a…moreIt's fun! Also, to be honest, I'm still sort trying to adjust to the idea that I have readers. I keep waiting for someone to tell me its all been a huge mistake. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,548 ratings  ·  5,162 reviews


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karen
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
i don't read a lot of fantasy.
i read slipstream, magical realism, and horror, but fantasy typically just confuses me.

i think my obstacle is that with MR and slipstream, things are only just slightly tweaked, and what i relish is that unsettling feeling - that the possibility for fantastical occurrences is present, but there's still something concrete and recognizable to ground me.

my imagination is typically not strong enough for pure fantasy.

but that cover?? and a library??
i was intrigued and
...more
Bradley
Re-read October 11, 2019

Just in case you might think that a book like this might lose its flavor or lessen my enjoyment three years after the last read, or it being the third read with the third-read blues, check your expectations at the door.

I still freaking love this book.

It has everything I could ever want. A mastermind plan or three. Godlike powers. A mystery, a revenge story, a freaking humorous and heartbreaking debacle including lions, dogs, and a very special man in a tu-tu, and a
...more
Matthew
What just happened?

This book is bizarre. This book is weird. This book is fantastic!

Sometimes books are complex, weird, and artsy - but it all feels forced. Kind of like the author sat down and said "check out how artsy and deep and meaningful I can be". I have some books in mind, but I will play nice *cough* American Gods *cough*. But, with this one it felt like all the bizarre complexity and weirdness was flowing out of the author and he couldn't help it. He sat down and said "OMG, what is
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This is honestly the weirdest book I have ever read.

The first hundred or so pages of this book make no sense whatsoever. I mean none.
You just get thrown into the book and hope for the best. I kept thinking I was going to dnf this sucker but I looked and most of my friends on Goodreads had given it a pretty decent rating. I didn't want to be that weird one..again.

I'm going to attempt to sum up some of this book and hopefully make some sense of it in my mind at the same time. (Probably not going
...more
Mark Lawrence
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very strange book!

Reading the blurb I thought I was in for some sort of urban fantasy of the angels + demons, werewolves + vampires sort that often has a young woman in leathers on the cover showing an inch of midriff.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a very brutal, rather crazy/flaky book that is so compellingly written it just drags you off on its bizarre journey.

The story opens on the small scale and stays there for a while, all the time stacking up the questions and
...more
Justin
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm staring at a blank screen trying to figure out how to even review this book. Outside the rain has been falling steadily for hours. I don't think it has any plans of slowing down today. The rain is a nice distraction. I can sit and listen to it while I sit inside and wrestle with coherency. I don't even know if that makes sense, but it sounds pretty impressive to me.

I really don't know where to begin. I mean, am I even reviewing the book anyway? Aren't my reviews just a bunch of jumbled
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Sean Gibson
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sean by: Paula W
Many people are familiar with Schrödinger's cat, a thought experiment developed by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in the mid-1930s. Essentially, the idea was this: if you put a cat in a box, to an external observer, the cat is equally likely to be alive or dead at any given moment (or, more accurately, simultaneously alive and dead—e.g., quantum superposition). Smarter people than I (of which there are many) can elucidate how the experiment suggests flaws in the Copenhagen interpretation ...more
mark monday
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to mark by: Bradley
super fucking fun adventures with some super fucking powered librarians. it all gets very fucking dark; after all, it features the end of the fucking world. (kinda.) what's not to fucking like?

but why all the fucks, mark? this is an all-ages site! come on, man. restrain yourself. for teh children.

okay! this devious, bizarre, pitch-black, evilly sardonic, take-no-prisoners adventure novel is written by Scott Hawkins. it is his first piece of published fiction but it reads like he's been
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Ginger
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Update 02-09-2018
It's been two weeks and I still have no idea how to do a review on this one. I loved the characters, especially the despicable ones. The whole concept of whether they were Gods or not was fascinating. The plot was just complex and wonderful. Just go read it!

Original review - 01-26-2018
ALL THE STARS!
What a mind fuck!

I absolutely loved this book! I’m not even sure how to go about doing a proper review. I know without a fact that this will be a book that I will remember 10 years
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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

 :

Okay, I have to admit, in the beginning of the book to almost half way I wanted to stop reading and run away. I didn't like it or know what was going on half the time!



My brain is not qualified for this book!



Then I started to really like it when the kids were in Mrs. McGillicutty's house with Steve, it got comical and I started understanding an eenie meenie bit more! :-)

I loved Steve's character. I thought he was a pretty good ole dude. I kinda like
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Victoria Schwab
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Strange and utterly delightful.
David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
This was my first buddy read with The Wonderful Kristen, but it definitely won't be the last one ! It was a lot of fun discussing theories and comparing notes with you, Kristen! :D

I can honestly say this was one of the most bizarre books I've ever read! I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, but this book was so unique and eccentric, it would blow the mind of even the most seasoned readers:


Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Not only was it refreshingly original, but it was also laugh out
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Michelle
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was at the library last week to pick up a book I was meaning to read. I never got that book. In its place (reserved for me) was this book. The librarian explained something about bar code errors to me but I really didn't care. I have already decided to give this book a try. The title was intriguing enough. I guess it was meant to be.

Not knowing what this book has in store for me (which is the most adventurous I will ever get!), I started on the first page, well… it’s about a librarian walking
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Edward Lorn
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like anal nitrate, spam, and making adult decisions.
Recommended to Edward by: my book fairy
The Library at Mount Char is one of the more original books I've read. It's been compared to the works of Joe Hill and Neil Gaiman. Content wise, I would agree. With that being said, it's nowhere near as well written as Hill's books, and vastly better written than Gaiman. Love Gaiman, don't get me wrong, but he'll be the first to tell you that he takes minimalism to a whole new level. And Hill? Well, Hill is just the man. If you don't fan-swoon over either of the aforementioned scribes, you'll ...more
Dan Schwent
Jun 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
When Father goes missing, the Librarians he trained try to solve his murder while his legacy hangs in the balance. But what happened to him and who is responsible? More importantly, what will happen to His Library?

I got this from Netgalley.

I'm not completely sure how I felt about this book. Hell, for most of the book, I wasn't sure who was supposed to be the main character. However, I did enjoy it. Here's how it all went down.

Father, aka Adam Black, aka various other aliases, scooped up twelve
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Heidi The Reader
The Library at Mount Char is an urban fantasy/horror novel about Carolyn and her adopted "family" who are studying the seemingly endless knowledge of an immortal being that they call "Father." The lessons that they learn are terrifying but powerful.

After years of fear and torture at the hands of the Father and some of her siblings, Carolyn wants to break free from her living nightmare. She knows that she can't trust anyone, but she also doesn't know all of her Father's secrets.

How exactly does
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Cindy Newton
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror, favorites
Review from 2nd Reading - 8/10/17

I still love this book SO MUCH!! The second reading only proved to me that my memory was correct, that this book is freaking amazing and as completely awesome as I remembered it being. The only thing missing, sadly, was the wonder of reading it for the first time. Otherwise, it's sublime! It's not for everyone--if you don't have a taste for the bizarre, if you're not willing to step outside the bounds of reality and embrace a fantastically skewed version of our
...more
Darth J
Aug 31, 2015 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love that Bradley Cooper Silver Linings Playbook .gif

12 children are abducted by a powerful man and are tasked with learning his collected knowledge of the earth's secrets.
"I don't get it."
"I'm not sure I do either, honestly. I mean, I know what he did to us, but I really don't have any idea why."
p. 239

At times reminding me of bits of American Gods and The Magicians, The Library at Mount Char is both interesting and pretty messed up. There are scenes with tons of dogs being brutally murdered and people being burned to death in a grill shaped like
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Jenna
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenna by: MonumentToDecency
Shelves: fantasy
Sorting Books GIF - SortingBooks Books Librarian GIFs

If the woman above is how you think of librarians, you probably haven't visited a library in recent years. And you certainly haven't read Scott Hawkins' amazing novel The Library at Mount Char.

Meet a few of the librarians:

Carolyn
Garbed in a reindeer sweater, 80s-style leg warmers, and Spandex bicycle shorts, our MC has mastered every language ever used on Earth, including those of all the animals.

David
Though he dresses in a purple tutu, David is anything but a sissy. In fact, he is a
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Celeste
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy, new-weird
Full review now posted!
You can find this review and more at Booknest.


Have you ever bought a book and not gotten around to reading it until years later? This is a constant problem for me, because I might have the teensiest book-buying addiction. I currently have well over 3,000 books in my home, many of which I bought because they were incredibly cheap, not to mention that I wanted to take them home with me because they had words in them. I have more books than I will probably ever be able to
...more
emma
4/5 stars


Bonkers. Certifiably bonkers. (If anyone read that in Jason Mantzoukas’s voice, I’m in love with you.)

https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...

I’ve never read anything like this book before!! And I’m also pretty certain I never will again. It didn’t drip with gaudy description, but I could picture everything. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way. Also, I loved that like, the most insanely background characters were fuller than most YA protagonists. Because y’all know I’m a
...more
Zoeytron
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
'It's about to get very dark, you see.'

Time works differently in the library at Mount Char. It is home to the Pelapi, best described as librarians. Apprentices to Father, they have been assigned to catalogs of special learnings.

Regard the sun as it fades to black, see the floating staircase, and note the smell of tears. Meet Rachel and her ghost children, the terrifying David, and the odiferous Margaret. Jennifer, gentle soul and healer. Carolyn, the linguist, a bookworm at heart. Hear tell of
...more
Daphne
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-audio
Holy crap. I. Can't. Even.

This book - it's like everything I've ever wanted in my fiction, and so much more. It's like if bizarro and fantasy met literary for a twisted menage a trois. I was captivated from the first five minutes, and didn't want to pause the audio to even shower. It was so, so good.

description
David and Micheal stood looking down over Garrison Oaks. Michael, like his cougars around him, was naked. David wore an Israeli Army flak jacket and a lavender tutu, crusty with blood. The flak
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Nick T. Borrelli
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't exactly know what to say after finishing this book other than I can't find the words to review it right now. I will say that I have never read a book quite like it (and I've read some weird books). I'm not sure how someone's brain houses a story like this and then can translate it onto a page but Mr. Hawkins has managed to do it. In short, the book is disturbing, freakout weird, compelling, original, and mostly brilliant. Full review when I can handle it.
Kelly
This review first appeared on my blog Shoulda Coulda Woulda Books.


I can't say I ever expected to write a review about how I almost cried over a lion-on-ghost-dog fight in the streets of suburbia, but here we are. Turns out it exists, the book that can make you do that. And it's this one.

The Library at Mount Char tells the story of Carolyn Sopaski. What her story is we only gradually find out in fits and starts over the course of the novel, but at the beginning what we know is that Carolyn and
...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was warned that this would be the weirdest book I've ever read and... yep!

In the beginning I had a hard time getting into since every 1-2 chapters you start following a different story without really knowing how they are linked. Eventually it all starts to make sense and I just couldn't put it down!

If you're looking for something different - horror, thriller, whimsical type then this is it!

I would try and summarize it but honestly there's no way I would give it justice. Just read it!
♛Tash
Review also on



The Library at Mount Char is the most bizarre book I have read. Ever. I don't throw superlatives around lightly, but this book earned it. I've been attempting to write my review for this for days now and between its grandiose premise and endless twists, I find it most difficult to review without giving out spoilers. I will try anyway.

God is missing. God is known by many names, but he is Father to the Librarians. The Librarians were regular Americans once until Father adopted them
...more
Laura Noggle
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for something to blow their mind.
Shelves: 2018, favorites
5 Solid Stars: Surprising, Imaginative, Powerful

“Behind her eyes, black flowers bloomed.”

It’s hard to know where to start with this book other than … WOW. What a trip. Imagine if the movie Mother!, Dr. Strange, and an M. C. Escher painting had a baby — you might be close to capturing the essence of this psychotropic tome.

“The explosive brightness was startling in the long, dreamy shadows of this suburban afternoon.”

Whichever way you look at it, this book is a wild ride you should definitely
...more
Kaora
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-fantasy
It's about to get very dark you see.

For some reason the title of this and the young protagonist had me thinking this was a Young Adult novel.

It most definitely IS NOT.

Carolyn was a normal girl once, until the day she called Adoption Day, when her parents and those of children around her died and they were adopted by a man they call Father. Each child was given a catalogue of things to study, from healing to war to languages. They are expected to master their catalogues, but never to read
...more
Becky
I am so confused by this book, but... in a good way? I think? I'm not sure exactly what it was that I read, or necessarily what the point was, but it seemed to have one that maybe I'm just not quite grasping at the moment. I mean, the book's main goal-based plotline effectively was finished at like 75% - and yet, 75% is not 100% and there's still a whole bunch of book left and I don't understand why there's so much book left and why everything is being wrapped up and explained, even to our ...more
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