by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
Come, I will teach you futility.
Young Anthony, student and artist, meets the enigmatic Emily, and the two of them engage in a dark romance that sees the artist in danger of slowly losing his mind as Emily struggles to convince him they are both actually displaced demons and live by a different rule-set than the rest of the world.
The book is a stunner, alternating back and forth between vivid real world events and the horrific Nightland which Anthony has conjured, and into which he finds himself repeatedly drawn. These nightmare moments slide between surreal and fantasy, but the author manages to construct the novel’s pieces so it tantalizes readers, tempting us to ask which world is real, if either.
And therein lies the book’s power. When reality is questioned right alongside the unreality of Nightland, information from both perspectives is processed in a way that unshackles parts of known universal laws, letting the mind wander free for a few brief moments, raw and uninhibited, allowing for strange connections:
Perhaps you’re just figments of my imagination. Or vice versa.
Thus his lifelong quest was not, after all, to solidify the unknown, but to hold the truth at bay.