The Oughtside has slipped in through the cracks in the world and judgment has come for Habre Circle. Some boy rips himself out of sleep paralysis to find his dead-end street overtaken by the Oughtside, a limbo where the dead are remade as clay bones, shadow and porcelain. An opaque mass of a human figure meets the boy at his front door, offering him employment as judge and jury of his neighbors’ banal lives. He accepts this unpaid call to adventure seemingly plucked from the video games and narratives that consume him, descending into the homes and experiences of his childhood friend, a former babysitter who is now a skeleton, a bitter elder, and more through cracked storytelling mediums. The neighbors, in turn, see the boy’s true maladjusted self, interacting with him and each other in a strange limbo the way they never could in life, all of them hurtling towards salvation or damnation.
Cul-de-sac is an experimental fantasy that playfully explores the boundaries of genre and the power of a story’s medium. The book deftly weaves a narrative that guides you through the suspended places between life and death, the hunger and drive behind reconciliation, and the true cost of your past catching up with you.
“Nick Perilli is a one-of-a-kind voice, and Cul-de-sac is a hauntingly creepy and sneakily poignant tour of suburban limbo.”
—Stephanie Feldman, author of Saturnalia
“An unsparing glimpse of a fried Levittown where teens and miscreant geezers freeze into gooey stasis. Like Finnegan’s Wake or Deadwood, Cul-de-sac is a brilliant dead-end, the Last of the Beaver-hicans, a dread well [Perilli’s] fallen into so you don’t have to.”
—Ron Dakron, author of Tricky
“A beautifully-realized portrait of adolescence in paralysis, Nick Perilli’s first novel is luminous, surreal, hilariously bizarre, and strikingly original. From the start, we are thrust into a mind-bending adventure through suburban purgatory—a supernatural realm where one›s salvation or damnation rests in a teenager’s hands—and the suspense never lets up from there. Cul-de-sac is part absurdist coming-of-age, part phantasmogorical thriller, and it may be the most unforgettable
book you read this year.”
— Jonathan Koven, author of Palm Lines and Below Torrential Hill
“All roads lead to the Oughtside, and if you are not terrified you should be. Cul-de-sac opens readers’ eyes to the red, dead world that awaits us all in the next life. In the Oughtside, all life is as fragile as a cracking porcelain mask, and judgment awaits around every dark turn. Perilli’s Cul-de-sac is a page turner that asks the reader to reconsider everything we know about life and death. Are you ready for judgement?”
— Ed Bonilla, author of 5 Clones