Author: Mattson James Han
Format: Deckle Edge
Package Dimensions: 39x218x480
Number Of Pages: 416
Release Date: 05-10-2021
Details: Product Description
“Like Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, Alyssa Cole’s When No One Is Watching or Zakiya Dalila Harris’ The Other Black Girl, Reprieve straddles genres in the best possible way. . . . Sure to spark conversation and debate at book clubs across the land.” –LOS ANGELES TIMES
“An eventual American classic that is unrelenting in its beauty and incisive cultural critique.” – KIESE LAYMON
Recommended by New York Times • Los Angeles Times • NPR • Today • Esquire • O Quarterly • Boston Globe • Chicago Tribune • Harper’s Bazaar • Shondaland • Thrillist • The Millions • Crimereads • XTRA • Tor • Literary Hub • and more!
A chilling and blisteringly relevant literary novel of social horror centered around a brutal killing that takes place in a full-contact haunted escape room—a provocative exploration of capitalism, hate politics, racial fetishism, and our obsession with fear as entertainment.
On April 27, 1997, four contestants make it to the final cell of the Quigley House, a full-contact haunted escape room in Lincoln, Nebraska, made famous for its monstrosities, booby-traps, and ghoulishly costumed actors. If the group can endure these horrors without shouting the safe word, “reprieve,” they’ll win a substantial cash prize—a startling feat accomplished only by one other group in the house’s long history. But before they can complete the challenge, a man breaks into the cell and kills one of the contestants.
Those who were present on that fateful night lend their points of view: Kendra Brown, a teenager who’s been uprooted from her childhood home after the sudden loss of her father; Leonard Grandton, a desperate and impressionable hotel manager caught in a series of toxic entanglements; and Jaidee Charoensuk, a gay international student who came to the United States in a besotted search for his former English teacher. As each character’s journey unfurls and overlaps, deceit and misunderstandings fueled by obsession and prejudice are revealed, forcing all to reckon with the ways in which their beliefs and actions contributed to a horrifying catastrophe.
An astonishingly soulful exploration of complicity and masquerade, Reprieve combines the psychological tension of classic horror with searing social criticism to present an unsettling portrait of this tangled American life.
“Insightful and gripping . . . On the surface,
Reprieve is a story about an attack at a haunted house, but Mattson is also investigating questions of identity and power, namely who in this story controls fears and who is subject to them . . . The haunted house at the center of the narrative is an excellent touch because the ideas of danger and harm become material, frightening and imminent. At times, the reader is trapped in Quigley House with the contestants, in scenes that are genuinely unnerving . . . In his sly way, Mattson turns his novel into a portrait of current events. And they have, indeed, been terrifying.” —
New York Times Book Review
The Intuitionist, Alyssa Cole’s
When No One Is Watching or Zakiya Dalila Harris’
The Other Black Girl,
Reprieve straddles genres in the best possible way. The late 1990s murder of a man in Quigley House, a full-contact haunted house in Lincoln, Neb., during a contest gone awry, and the ensuing trial are just part of the story. It’s the compelling flashbacks from diverse contestants and others that drive Mattson’s deeper examination of America’s addiction to horror, casual racism, deteriorating political climate and a whole lot more. Sure to spark conversation and debate at book clubs across the land.” — Paula L. Woods,
Los Angeles Times
“James Han Mattson’s
Reprieve is a novel about otherness, loneliness, racism, and identity wrapped in a gory tale about a full-contact escape room attraction. Mattson walks the line between pulpy horror and smart literary fiction here, and the result is a multilayered book that has enough going on to please fans of both genres