Banal Nightmare

Banal Nightmare
A ferocious novel by one of the boldest voices in American fiction and the author of The New Me, the "definitive work of millennial literature" (The New Yorker)

"Butler has crafted a novel in which every character proves to be completely, uniquely crazy. Her perverse sense of humor should be studied and celebrated."--David Sedaris

Margaret Anne "Moddie" Yance had just returned to her native land in the Midwestern town of X, to mingle with the friends of her youth, to get back in touch with her roots, and to recover from a stressful decade of living in the city in a small apartment with a man she now believed to be a megalomaniac or perhaps a covert narcissist.

So begins Halle Butler's sadistically precise and hilarious Banal Nightmare, which follows Moddie as she abruptly ends her long-term relationship and moves back to her hometown, throwing herself at the mercy of her old friends as they, all suddenly tipping toward middle age, go to parties, size each other up, obsess over past slights, dream of wild triumphs, and indulge in elaborate revenge fantasies. When her friend Pam invites a mysterious East Coast artist to take up a winter residency at the local university, Moddie has no choice but to confront the demons of her past and grapple with the reality of what her life has become. As the day of reckoning approaches, friends will become enemies, enemies will become mortal enemies, and old loyalties will be tested to their extreme.

Banal Nightmare is filled with complicated characters who will dazzle you in their rendering just as often as they will infuriate you with their decisions. Halle Butler singularly captures the volatile, angry, aggrieved, surreal, and entirely disorienting atmosphere of the modern era.

Publication Date: 
July 16, 2024