“Pawnshops in Night Vale work like this. First you need an item to pawn.”
IT is the tone of the Night Vale podcast that mesmerizes, a kind of surreal X Files, a slow smirk drawn across a nonsense universe where nothing is explained and time works in an alternative universe. Does it work as well in book form? Well it does, if you pick up the humour and have that resonance in your mind. If you can imagine the compulsive soundtrack. The nonsense though requires a bit more concentration on the page without the walking stick of the human voice to nudge you around the non sequitors of the house that speaks, the son that transforms into any shape he feels like adopting, the doppleganger of the man on the phone who is the man standing next to Diane, who is not there at all, and mad old woman Josie and her charming angels one called Erika, the dog pound with no dogs, the tarantula problem…and Jackie the pawnbroker who never gets older than 19 and always pays $11…we are off the envelope here somewhere in the Midwest, the darkest reaches of middle America, a saga of madness. Samuel Becket is on the trail, an existentialist vision perhaps without anyone having freewill.
We are anchored by the nightly newscast:
“Listeners, the Sheriff’s police are out in large numbers tonight in Night Vale. They are not looking for a killer or a missing person. There is no disaster or accident to handle. They are simply wandering around in large numbers…We all feel very safe.”
It is the humour of the absurd. Beyond the podcast, it also materialises in terms of 90 minute live shows delivered comedian-like dead pan but supported by fluent eerry scores penned by different musicians…compulsive, addictive, escapism in abstract…”it is probably safer for you not be in this story anyway”.
On the other hand….”watch out for the librarians of unimaginable powers” and the invisible pies.