John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) Will Publish Debut Novel In 2014

    You know that list you made? The one with a bunch of musicians who you thought should write a novel at some point? You can cross one of the names off.

    John Darnielle, the mastermind behind The Mountain Goats, has announced that FSG will be publishing his debut novel later this year. The book, titled The Wolf in the White Van, is a story about a man who invented the arcade game “Trace Italian” (not real, don’t go googling) and the impact his creation has on two teenagers. 

    While this is a debut novel, fans will remember that Darnielle published a novella-ish look at Black Sabbath’s Masters of Reality for the 33 1/3 book series, so it’s not quite his first foray into publishing. 

    Darnielle passed along FSG’s announcement on his Tumblr saying, “so here is a thing that is happening in my life that I am really incredibly excited about.” The novel has even garnered praise (in the form of a blurb…I know, I know) from Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), who said, “John Darnielle’s novel moves through the mind like a dark-windowed car through a sleepy neighborhood, quiet, mysterious, menacing, taking you places you will never, never get out of your head.”

    If you need more still, go read this post by FSG editor Sean McDonald writing on how excited he is about this book.

    Here’s the full synopsis of the book:

    “Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of “Trace Italian”—a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail—Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America.

    Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, and are explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called on to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tracing back toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.”