cover image Not Dark Yet

Not Dark Yet

Berit Ellingsen. Two Dollar Radio (Consortium, dist.), $15.99 trade paper (202p) ISBN 978-1-937512-35-4

This suspenseful and haunting novel follows ex-sniper Brandon Minamoto as he relocates from his unnamed North American city to a secluded cabin in the mountains. Brandon wants to find a clearer version of himself through self-imposed exile. His isolation conjures vivid dreams and memories of the world he is retreating from: his time in the military; his brother, Katsuhiro; and his lovers, Michael and Kaye. The story deepens, unfolding in short chapters that rise and fall like waves. Several strangers arrive at the cabin and ask to use some of Brandon's land for an unconventional agricultural project. After suffering an unexpected fall in the woods while running, Brandon visits a doctor and sees someone from his recent past. Meanwhile, he continues to advance in his application process to participate in a manned mission to Mars. The branches of these seemingly unconnected events begin to cross and merge, leading Brandon to major realizations. Ellingsen (Beneath Liquid Skin) projects a feeling of encroaching darkness on every page, "the shadow of a Kraken passing beneath the surface," and this tension guides the narrative like a purposeful current. Expansive and unsettling descriptions make it easy to fall under the story's spell. This is a remarkable novel from a very talented author. (Nov.)