The Road Not Traveled


When something shocking and unthinkable happens, a nation gathers and the events in Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson is no exception to this.

When the Twin Towers suddenly appear in the Badlands, people gather to see the anomaly and hear the rumored music that comes from it. Each person hears a different song, but they are all still drawn to the sight despite their fear of it and what it could mean. Moving between a trucker with a troubled marriage, an unlikely sibling duo driving across the country to visit their mother to the tune of the father’s playlist, and the stillborn twin of Elvis Presley emerging from the Towers to live a life that never was is a narrative of a fractured America of the recent past.

The format of the narrative made it extremely quick to read with its short chapters, lists, and chapter titles that integrated seamlessly into the text of the chapter. Some of the speculation presented felt a bit experimental and was confusing to read, particularly in the last third or so of the book, but I was intrigued the entire time as the various narrative threads were woven together to tell one tale. This was certainly an interesting premise and was relatively well executed, sparking further introspection.

Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

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