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Whiteout Conditions

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Ant is back in Chicago for a funeral, and he typically enjoys funerals. Since most of his family has passed away, he finds himself attracted to their endearing qualities: the hyperbolic language, the stoner altar boy, seeing friends in suits for the first time. That is, until the tragic death of Ray ― Ant’s childhood friend, Vince's teenage cousin. Ray was the younger thir ...more
Paperback, 114 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Two Dollar Radio
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  162 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Wow, this was like a stinging slap to the face. I mean that as a compliment. It’s about a man returning to his hometown for the funeral of his friend’s younger cousin, and that’s all you need to know, because this isn’t a story, it’s a feeling, or a string of them: the aching nostalgia of walking streets you used to know well and now find changed; the numb pleasure-pain of tracing over memories of good times long gone; the sick excitement of violence anticipated. There’s not a scrap of fat on Sh ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Funerals have felt different since I moved away. Heavier. More meaningful. It’s not as though I hadn’t been to my fair share of them prior to leaving Michigan. It’s just that the return to my native land – and the reason behind it – now carries more weight than it once had. Before I could just go back to my everyday life, put the unfortunate event behind me and move on. Nowadays it feels like an all-encompassing experience, if not a more genuine one.

Perhaps it’s because I feel obligat
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2021
A heart-breaking road trip in the midst of a tragedy that hits the characters harder than they want to let on. Shah’s unique writing style gives the reader brief glimpses of the character’s past and present with this unknown tragedy looming over them the whole time, these glimpses are almost as hypnotic as watching windscreen wipers on the slow setting, with each sweep the story moves on.

Our narrator is Ant and something feels off about him right from the start, he has this weird obsession with
Beth M.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few 5 star new releases I have read so far this year! If you are looking to support a new book that has a pub day falling amidst all of the turmoil happening right now, this is one you don’t want to overlook!

Whiteout Conditions is a brief whisper of a novel at just over 100 pages and Shah doesn’t waste a word. The story follows Ant as he returns to his hometown of Chicago for the funeral of a childhood friend. Another old friend, Vince, picks him up from the airport and their
Chris Vola
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Some men,” Michael Caine’s character in the film The Dark Knight points out while discussing the Joker’s motives, “just like to watch the world burn.” Other less psychotically motivated voyeurs, like Ant, the scarred, wisecracking protagonist of Tariq Shah’s rousing debut novel Whiteout Conditions, prefer to crash funerals.

Picking up this perverse, yet “kind of fun” hobby after burying the last of his loved ones, Ant absorbs the sad and sometimes unintentionally hilarious antics of the bereave
Ari Robin McKenna
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews-by-ari
WRITING CRAFT: 3 - This is Tariq's debut novel, and I found myself wading into his dense, upbeat style, intrigued in part because of the mystery which underscores it. Scatterbrained, thoughts hopscotching around, and yet somehow driven, main character "Ant" exudes aspects of the philosophy in László Krasznahorkai's notable work, "The Animal Inside." He flees effortlessly and almost reflexively from his own errors, having gingerly fled death and its resulting desolation for long enough that the w ...more
Alex Yurcaba
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
So much of what’s great about this book is what is left off the page. This is such an exquisite distillation of the uniquely bleak midwestern ennui. The inability of each character to just spit out their feelings and engage each other speak volumes more than what’s allowed in the relatively sparse prose.

In this book I saw generations of men in my family from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, each as inacapable of getting anything off of their chest as their father. What’s left in place of tha
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Unexpectedly sad. Unexpectedly violent (toward the end, anyway). This story finds Ant on a road trip with his old friend Vince to attend a funeral. We don’t learn much about either character’s background but enough to know they both tend to have self-destructive personalities and apparently some resentment toward each other. The writing is beautiful but the story is painful as it examines how our past shapes our lives and how truly difficult it is to leave any of it behind.
Darryl Suite
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this one. I understand the Denis Johnson comparisons. It has a restlessness vibe to it. I liked spending time with these characters. Wouldn't have minded spending even more time with them. ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's really good. Like, sit down and read the whole thing in one sitting good. Tariq Shah's first novel is an experience I'm glad I got to have.

The two main characters just keep pushing against each other, and no one can get anywhere (I enjoyed counting the number of times they are in a car, but not moving). Who gives way, who acts, and how they resolve were really well handled and felt very honest.

This is almost a novella, but 115 pages is the perfect length. One of the blurbs on the back compa
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Slim and interesting, though I feel like I wanted more information about everything. It all went by so fast.
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
quarantine book #2-- if you're not reading two dollar radio books, are you even in quarantine? ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
In one late-run episode of the The Sopranos, Tony's uncle Junior, who has been house-bound for years and beginning to show signs of dementia, conspires to elide his house arrest by scouring the obituary page and making up tenuous links to the deceased so he can go to the funeral. During these sorrowful events, Junior is at his liveliest, reveling in the stimulation and the free food. Eventually, the morbidity gets to him and he breaks down, but there is something that he gets from funerals -- es ...more
Cindy Cunningham
I could see how some readers would be drawn to this book. The author used a lyric style, which I often admire, but it often became overwritten and off-putting. His overuse of similes and metaphor became almost comic at times as nearly each sentence compared each and every action to something else: "the cold is so cold its like an awl in your ear" or our smiles fade as "fast as rain-drenched sidewalk chalk." In some sections, I longed for a straight up sentence.

The toxic masculinity wasn't explo
Alex Jones
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whiteout Conditions by Tariq Shah is something very different from my usual reading and a book that took me very much out of my comfort zone. And presented me with possibly the hardest review I’ve written.

Not a big book in regards to size, it’s 177 pages of fairly big print, but in story it’s huge and in some ways really quite mind-blowing.

It’s a road trip of sorts, when childhood friends Vince and Ant come together to travel to the funeral of a friend Ray, or Ray-Gun, who has suffered a quite t
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ant has returned to Chicago for a funeral which he typically enjoys its his way of deflecting his own pain as most of his family has passed away he finds funerals endearing. His friend Ray tragically dies which leads to Ray's cousin Vince picking Ant up at the airport during a snow storm to get to the funeral.

Whiteout Conditions is a dark novel but at times humouress as it explores the impact of death and how we deal with grief. A slow burner which ends with a shocking sinister climax. The core
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Grabbed an ebook of it and read it all in a couple days.
Blue collar Chicago lit - set in the suburbs north of Chicago. Not the tony $$$$$ suburbs, but those even further up north, like you're in WI almost.
At times the prose is a bit clunky and turgid and over written. But the story, when he keeps to it, is good and keeps moving forward. Quick read at about 115 pp, easy 1-2 sitting read.
I'll be looking forward to Shah's next book.
Sep 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Ant is sad, depressed actually. Everyone he knows has died, it seems. Now, he is returning to his hometown where a friend’s younger cousin, Ray, has died.
This is a story of anger, drugs, alcohol, stupidity, and a pit bull. Traveling with his friend, Vince, to the funeral, reminiscing about their lives, taking chances.
I don’t recall why I choose to read this book. Thankful it was just 115 pages.
#WhiteoutConditions #TariqShah
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, not bad. The length was absolutely perfect and the book certainly has a lot of heart to it and thoughtful observations on death, friendship, family...but the dialogue on occasion felt kind of awkward.
Rachel Willis
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best contemporary American novels I’ve read in some time.
Josh Dale
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This short novel weaves so many themes into a compact, vicarious novel. The dynamic of hometown friends that split and rejoin; a fractured microcosm that bears a somber smile.
Jill Marie
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It's a little dark, but I don't mind. The writing was quick and interesting. I thought the characters were built quickly, but effectively. ...more
Sydney Blondell
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very quick, and easy read. Full of personality and wit, Tariq Shah captures the attention of his readers by taking the story in unexpected directions
Great job author, I really like your writing style. I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition this April.
J. A.
Mar 18, 2021 added it
Shelves: 2021
Like Cujo meets Noah Cicero's The Human War. Sad, heady, and snarling. ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pretty good. Promising new writer, interesting indie publisher.
Feb 18, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2021
This is very much a character driven story, focusing mainly on Ant. Ant likes funerals, which I think we can all agree is a bit unusual but maybe there’s more to it than that.

Now this book focuses a lot of grief and lose, which is why I think it didn’t click for me. I’ve been fortunate in my life that I haven’t really lost anyone that close to me, so because of this I think I found it hard to relate and understand the emotions of the characters.

What I will say is I found the writing style really
paula pocius
rated it it was amazing
Mar 23, 2020
Brian Obenauf
rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2020
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