Reprieve
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Reprieve

4.17 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"An eventual American classic that is unrelenting in its beauty and incisive cultural critique." - KIESE LAYMON

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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 140 x 210mm | 454g
  • English
  • 0063079917
  • 9780063079915

Review quote

"Reprieve is an eventual American classic that is unrelenting in its beauty and incisive cultural critique. But it is James Han Mattson's treatment of his fully flawed characters that clutches my heart and head. Every room in this book has a secret room. Every character has a shadow trying to swallow them whole. I'm not sure there is 'fearless' American writing, but a few times a generation, there is innovative writing that appears to confront, shred, and accept the fears of its author and its readers with a wicked joy. Reprieve is that book. It really is." --Kiese Laymon, bestselling author of Heavy: An American Memoir
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Rating details

6 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 50% (3)
4 17% (1)
3 33% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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