Devil House by John Darnielle
February 14, 2022 11:34 PM - Subscribe

A true-crime writer begins a new book project, centered on a grisly 1986 double murder in southern California, that leads him to question the ethics of his trade and to delve into the paradoxes of storytelling itself.

BoingBoing review: John Darnielle's new novel is a riveting metafictional meditation on true crime stories review: Murder and Mythmaking: John Darnielle's Devil House

Esquire interview with the author
posted by FrauMaschine (8 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
(Yes, that John Darnielle..)
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:24 AM on February 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

(As is fairly widely known, John Darnielle's indie rock band, the Mountain Goats, has gained wide critical acclaim and a small but passionate following in the 20 or so years they've existed. I probably should've mentioned that in the post, but I myself barely know his music and know him primarily as a writer, a minority position that I suspect is about to become a majority position.)
posted by FrauMaschine at 5:51 AM on February 15, 2022

Ah, thanks for posting. I really enjoyed Wolf in White Van ("enjoyed" is probably the wrong word, but you get what I'm saying), but I totally missed Universal Harvester. My reading list is fuller than it's been since college (due to a pileup of Expanse and Murderbot books), but I'll get in line for these at the library.
posted by rikschell at 8:20 AM on February 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm about 1/3 of the way in and definitely recommend.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:56 AM on February 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

There was no wait for the audiobook of Universal Harvester, and Darnielle is an interesting reader (and he performs incidental music as well). Sorry, I'll stop derailing with the wrong book now.
posted by rikschell at 10:35 AM on February 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm always interested to hear about a new John Darnielle book! I experienced the first two as audiobooks initially (as rikschell mentioned, Darnielle narrates his own work), and now that's my official favorite way to read him.
posted by theatro at 1:38 PM on February 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Really loved this.

(Even the epigraph, a few lines from Ivy Compton-Burnett's 1935 novel A House and Its Head, rules; that is a supremely weird, and actually quite disturbing, novel by ICB. I think I found out about it from reading Dennis Cooper's blog in the mid-'00s.)
posted by FrauMaschine at 11:05 PM on February 23, 2022

In fact -- and I hope FanFare will forgive a digression -- I came away from reading Devil House (along w/ the articles linked in the OP) with a reading list a yard long; it includes: the Canterbury Tales; a reread of A House and Its Head; The Writing of the Disaster (Maurice Blanchot); Danielle's second novel, Universal Harvester; a reread of We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s, a fascinating history of the satanic ritual abuse scare in the U.S ; and two recentish novels by Croatian authors, in translation.
posted by FrauMaschine at 11:24 PM on February 23, 2022

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