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With The Escapement, Tidhar fearlessly crests the wave of the New New Weird with a wild, decadent hybrid of The Dark Tower and Carnivale.
—Catherynne M. Valente, author of Deathless
“Lavie Tidhar is a genius at conjuring realities that are just two steps to the left of our own.”
In this dazzling new novel evoking Westerns, surrealism, epic fantasy, mythology, and circus extravaganzas, World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar (Central Station) has created an incomparable dreamscape of dark comedy, heartbreak, hope, and adventure. Chronicling a lone man’s quest in parallel worlds, The Escapement offers the archetypal darkness of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger within the dark whimsy of a child’s imagination.
Into the Escapement rides the Stranger, a lone gunman on a quest to rescue his son in a strange parallel reality. But it is easy to lose one’s way on an endlessly shifting, unpredictable landscape. Especially in a place full of dangerous mirror-images of a child's beloved things: lawless heroes, giants made of stone, downtrodden clowns, spectacular symbol storms, and an endless war between gods and shadowy beings.
As the Stranger has learned, the Escapement is a dreamscape of deep mysteries, unlikely allies, and unwinnable battles. Yet the flower the he seeks still lies beyond the Mountains of Darkness. Time is running out as the Stranger journeys deeper into the secret heart of an unimaginable world.
In his most compelling work to date, Lavie Tidhar has delivered a multicolored tapestry of dazzling imagery. The Escapement is an epic, wildly original chronicle of the extraordinary lengths to which one will go for love.
A Note From the Publisher
“Can we just all admit now that Lavie Tidhar’s a genius? He’s written another brilliant book—a beautiful fever dream that somehow manages to be laugh-out-loud funny, psychedelically weird, and deeply moving.”
—Daryl Gregory, award-winning author of Spoonbenders
“To say The Escapement is unique sells it way short. It’s part weird western and part quest; half dream and half epic adventure tale set in a memorable Daliesque landscape. Tidhar lets his imagination run wild in this vivid book, all told in spare, beautiful prose.”
—Richard Kadrey, bestselling author of the Sandman Slim series
“Tidhar is a spellbinding stylist with a spell-casting imagination. Part fantasy, part sci-fi, part surreal mainstream, this novel plonks the reader into a vast, surreal landscape, the Escapement, in which clowns and stone monsters and cowboys and classic fictional characters coexist in a shifting tableau. The Stranger is our hero, a warrior searching for mythical flowers, even as in another universe he sits at his sick boy’s side in a hospital. None of this should work but all of it does, the author managing to evoke sadness, awe, and even humor. I could only compare my reading to old Philip K. Dick married to Samuel R. Delaney. The Escapement is a captivating triumph of imagination.
“Somewhere, in some city, a nameless man attends his dying son's bedside, powerless to save the boy. Desperate to find a cure, he slips into the Escapement: a Western world of maniacal whimsy populated by bounty hunters, stone giants, mimes, and clowns. Here, the ghost of John Wayne Gacy becomes a bloodthirsty giant, and P.T. Barnum is recast as a clown-enslaving general. The man, known in the Escapement as the Stranger, is not alone; most of the people in this weird desert come there from the real world by way of dream, drink, or death. Studded with features like the Big Rock Candy Mountains and the Desert de Soleil, the land bears intimate connections to the dying boy in the hospital bed—a boy who loves the circus and its clowns—and it's here that the Stranger hopes to find his son a panacea: Ur-shanabi, the Plant of Heartbeat. In keeping with its roots in midcentury Westerns, Tidhar's novel casts the Escapement's clowns as Native American analogs, turning the Stranger into their White savior and avenger, a man who knows that ‘one should never be unkind to clowns.’ The author draws from an eclectic mix of sources to create a dazzling story that is more than the sum of its parts, and much of the fun of reading it comes from recognizing its homages. Knowledgeable readers will notice shades of Stephen King, Lewis Carroll, and Westworld here, and Tidhar himself cites Z. Ariel's fairy tale, "The Heart of the Golden Flower," the Epic of Gilgamesh, Salvador Dalí, tarot cards, and Sergio Leone as particular sources of inspiration. A delightfully cacophonous novel, teeming with character.”
“The Escapement is absorbing, bizarre, haunting, and compelling. Lavie Tidhar continues to shatter the boundaries of literary and genre fiction with a novel that is equal parts horrifying dreamscape and an affecting meditation on parental love. There are a lot of books out there, but this is an experience.”
—David Liss, author of The Peculiarities
“Lavie Tidhar is a voice to be reckoned with. With The Escapement, he fearlessly crests the wave of the New New Weird with a wild, decadent hybrid of The Dark Tower and Carnivale. A vivid beach read, if the beach was made of greasepaint and gunpowder.”
—Catherynne M. Valente, author of Deathless
On Central Station
[STARRED REVIEW] “A fascinating future glimpsed through the lens of a tight-knit community. Verdict: Tidhar (A Man Lies Dreaming; The Violent Century) changes genres with every outing, but his astounding talents guarantee something new and compelling no matter the story he tells.” —Library Journal
“It is just this side of a masterpiece — short, restrained, lush.” —NPR Books
On The Violent Century
“A stunning masterpiece” —The Independent
“Unforgettable” —Jewish Standard
“A tour de force” —James Ellroy, author of L.A. Confidential
On A Man Lies Dreaming
“A twisted masterpiece” —Guardian
“Unmissable” —The Telegraph
• Review copy mailings to leading newspaper, magazine, and fiction reviewers
• Print and digital ARCs available via NetGalley, Edelweiss, and Goodreads
• Promotional campaign to include blog tour, interviews, radio, and podcasts
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• Author appearances at bookstores, trade shows, conventions, and virtual events TBD