Prepare yourself to enter in a world you won’t certainly understand and to do so, you will have to forget all the things that you know for sure… Welcome to Night Vale !
Welcome to Night Vale is a novel published in 2015 and based on a popular podcast (in the United States honestly, but not really in France) that has the same title than the novel. In fact, it is one of the most downloaded podcast in the international charts on iTunes (actually, every new episode is in the top 10) and you can easily find it by googling it or searching here and there on Soundcloud and Podbay. Then, you will be able to listen to them and if you have some issues to understand it, you can use transcripts of the episodes that will help you.
Yes, it is a podcast, then it’s a novel too. But, these are special ones. You have to mix the weirdness of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series and the banality of the American local radio and you obtain this little jewel.
« A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale ! »
That’s how the podcast and the novel begin !
I can’t really give you the plot because there is not a story, however several stories. Nevertheless, I will tell you some interesting things and facts about it. First, you need to know that this universe is dark but funny. Then, it’s incredible but impossible to describe to any friend of yours (even to your family or your english teacher ;)). Indeed, in this universe, angels are coming to help people to change light bulbs, wednesday can be cancelled due to a schedule error and a five-headed dragon can decide to run for municipal elections too !
I read the novel in English because I saw so many times on the Internet that some readers were angry and not convinced about the French translation which is apparently lame, wrong and full of mistakes ! The French translator(s) seems to have taken some liberties of changing names of places and characters which ruins your pleasure of diving into this fascinating novel’s universe when you actually know them in its original language. It is also the fact that there’re plenty of puns that the translation doesn’t manage to keep and has to make some changes that takes out the funny part of the novel.
As a conclusion, I liked this book pretty well but I can’t recommend it for everybody. You can read an extract, listen the half of the podcast’s first episode and you will make your own mind about it… And, don’t forget what it is said underneath.