Mountain Goat Press: John Darnielle to release debut novel, ‘Wolf in White Van,’ this fall


The most remarkable thing about the new novel by John Darnielle is that it’s new, and it’s written by John Darnielle.

Earlier this week, Darnielle’s publisher Sean McDonald announced that FSG Originals would be publishing the debut novel by the Mountain Goats frontman in October. Though he writes a column for Decibel and has contributed a book on Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality to the 33 1/3 series, Wolf in White Van is Darnielle’s first full-length work of fiction to be published, and it has fans peaking with excitement. Even Darnielle’s own publisher isn’t immune to the glee.

In his announcement, McDonald went on to gush by saying:


There are many things worth singling out for praise in Wolf in White Van: the unforgettable main character, Sean Phillips, who has been isolated by a disfiguring injury since age seventeen; Trace Italian, the intricate game within the novel that Sean created and runs; the interplay of real and imagined worlds, which is both complex and heartbreaking; the structure of the storytelling—audacious, brilliant, and never anything but convincing and unreasonably suspenseful; the prose itself, which is precise and beautiful and (forgive me) lyrical. But the greatest and perhaps most unexpected satisfaction is the quality that encompasses all these things, that this is simply a magnificent novel, weird and dark and wonderful, adventurous and spellbinding in the way of any great piece of literary art.

Literary art is exactly what folks have come to expect from Darnielle, who has drawn comparisons to Bob Dylan and even been nominated for Poet Laureate. Though the book won’t hit shelves until October, you can catch a preview of the puzzling cover below.

Darnielle will be crossing the Middlesex County line when he plays the Somerville Theatre on April 16, but the show is sold out, so you may have to wait for the novel to drop to get your JD fix.