Title: The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home
Author: Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
From the back: In the town of Night Vale, there’s a faceless old woman who secretly lives in everyone’s home, but no one knows how she got there or where she came from . . . until now. Told in a series of eerie flashbacks, the story of The Woman is revealed, as she guides, haunts and sabotages an unfortunate Night Vale resident named Craig. In the end, her dealings with Craig and her history in nineteenth century Europe will come together in the most unexpected and horrifying way.
The gist: You may or may not have heard of Welcome to Night Vale, a spooky, quirky podcast (now with books!). Here, Fink and Cranor let us hang out some more with the Faceless Old Woman—a character you’ll know if you’ve tuned into the podcast before. You know the one. The one who moves your glasses around when you’re not watching. Who the cats are always staring at just over your shoulder. Who adds beef dripping to your orange juice and puts gravel in your cornflakes. You know, right?
The book starts in Night Vale, but flashes back to The Faceless Old Woman’s history on the high seas – piracy, swashbuckling, adventure, revenge. It’s a brilliant (although, as is the way with Night Vale, unpredictable) adventure into her past. And as much as it is full of the weird, the creepy, the adventure, there’s a lot of heart in there too. Sometimes that heart might be getting caught on the wrong end of a sword, admittedly, but sometimes it’s just right there beating out some love and sorrow.
And even though it might not be set in Night Vale for the majority of the book, it hasn’t lost the trademark weirdness you’d expect from the Night Vale crew.
It won’t matter if you’ve not listened to the podcast, although I highly recommend that too. Take a trip into the weird back story of the Faceless Old Woman—not just because it’s a most enjoyable way of spending some time, but also because I’m pretty sure she’s standing behind me right now and she ain’t the sort you want to be pissing off any time soon.
Favourite line: “I don’t need protecting,” I said with the absolute certainty of someone who probably does.
Read if: You want an adventure across the high seas, getting to know a little more about the lady without a face standing right behind you.
Read with: -out thinking about the whispers you can hear from under the stairs.
ARC gratefully received from Little, Brown Book Group UK, Orbit, and Netgalley