cover image Mothtown


Caroline Hardaker. Angry Robot, $17.99 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-915202-73-4

Hardaker (Composite Creatures) blurs the line between fantasy and reality—and between literary and speculative fiction—in this devastating, mind-bending tale told in split timelines. At 10 years old, David lives in a world full of mysterious happenings: people go missing constantly, his grandfather is researching things he doesn’t understand, and the adults around him endlessly discuss the mysterious so-called “Modern Problem.” When his family tells David that his grandfather has died, David suspects that his grandfather is actually one of the missing, thus launching a yearslong interest in using the man’s left-behind research to find him. Years in the future, an adult David journeys through a mountainous environment pursued by unknown assailants as he attempts to find a door to another world. As these two timelines begin to integrate, how David arrived in this mysterious future becomes clear in a story alight with shocking twists and bizarre imagery. What begins as an eerie fantastical mystery evolves into a far more meaningful tale, interrogating mental illness, grief, and the deep loneliness and isolation of modern life. Readers will have no idea where this story is going, but Hardaker’s gorgeous prose and confident plotting ensure that every step taken toward the answer is a fascinating one. Agent: Ed Wilson, Johnson & Alcock. (Nov.)