52 Book Reviews, uh, review

A very nice review of The Troupe is up at 52 Book Reviews:

[…]Bennett has produced a novel that defies easy description, blending elements from genre and story into a rare hybrid that can appeal to all lovers of well crafted tales. When I recommend this book in the future, as I know I will, I will take an approach I save for only the most prized books on my shelves. I’ll simply ask; do you like to read?

Always very nice to hear.

Best of 2012 Collection

I’m damn happy to see that THE TROUPE has made a lot of end of year lists! I’ve been horribly lazy in responding to this, but I’ll go ahead and try to summarize them now:

The Qwillery: Book of the Year

The Troupe broke my rating system. I’ve stopped giving Qwills to books because once I read this exceptional novel I realized how inadequate my rating system was. […] This is one of those novels that is so remarkably good that I have been afraid that nothing I say about it could possibly do the novel justice, but I will try.

Only the Best Sci Fi: #1 out of 10

Bennett not only writes about magic, but his writing itself is imbued with magic and a bit of humor and even a little darkness. To be mentioned in the same breathe as Neil Gaiman would be no stretch of the imagination.

The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book Review: Fantasy Novel of the Year

The Troupe is one of those novels that just sticks with you long after closing it. Think of it as a period American Gods through the lens of Steinbeck. Yes, that’s heavy praise, but this book deserves it.

Rob Bedford: Best Fantasy Novel of 2012.

The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett was not only the best fantasy novel I read in 2012, it is my favorite novel of the year, full stop. It was a powerful novel and I’d even rank it as one of the ten best I’ve read in the last decade.

Audiobookaneers: Best Audiobook of a New Novel of 2012 (Dave’s pick).

The Troupe is one of those books that I didn’t want to end, was genuinely sad when it was over, and am very much looking forward to listening to again.

Book Chick City: #1 out of 10 (Melanie’s picks).

THE TROUPE is one of few truly unique books I have ever read. The plot was gritty, horrific, beautiful and poetic all at the same time. It isn’t an easy read but more than worth it.

Bookworm Blues: one of the top 10 of 2012.

I absolutely loved The Troupe and I devoured every word of it. The Troupe was a breath of fresh air. It charmed me from the first page.

Lynn’s Book Blog: #3 out of 10.

The Troupe is a brilliant read and one that I will definitely read again.  Robert Bennett is one of those unusual authors who seems to defy any sort of genre and who also manages to come up with a different style of book every time he sets pen to paper.  On the back of reading this I also read Mr Shivers and The Company Man which are also great reads.  I can’t wait for his next book to see where he will take us next.

Publishers Weekly: One of the best SF/Fantasy/Horror books of 2012.

A piano prodigy in early 20th-century middle America explores the dark side of performance and family in this eerie and love-ly homage to smalltime vaudevillians and the country’s heartland.

Tor.com – Reviewer’s picks of 2012


The Troupe has made the Tor.com list of reviewer’s picks of 2012!  SFF World reviewer Rob Bedford said of it:

On every level, this novel blew me away. Vaudeville, traveling artists, hints of Paradise Lost; this one had it all. Elements of the novel reminded me of the film Gangs of New York while other elements reminded me of King’s Dark Tower saga with other resonances to Neil Gaiman’s fiction.

You can read Rob’s original review here.


Darren Guest interview

I have my reading at Book People tonight at 7 PM. If you’re in the Austin area, swing by! And make sure to tell me the internet version of me sent you.

I did a fun interview with Darren Guest last week, which is now up here. We discussed many things, including the “genre ghetto”:

In Mr Shivers you use some powerful symbology in your examination of the ethos of death himself, and describe the novel as literary-ish.  In The Troupe there’s a certain Latin phrase that hints at a similar metaphysical exploration that could warrant another ‘ish’ – where do you stand in the old ‘Literary Vs Genre’ debate? 

RJB:  I don’t pay attention to the conflict – I presume it isn’t there, because it isn’t, not really. It’s a bunch of preconceived notions that we’re starting to shed the more porous our mediums get – TV bleeds into internet bleeds into writing, etc. I was once told, for example, that genre readers are some of the most aesthetically conservative readers out there – this is a statement I intend to disprove if it kills me. Or the genre readers.

Sometimes we do seem dreadfully intent on keeping these preconceived notions, though – and genre, though it likes to play the victim in railing against the mainstream and literary establishment, has as many self-inflicted strictures as the mainstream inflicts on it in turn.

A few people said that Mr. Shivers could not be a horror novel because it did not have enough violence in it, for example. Similarly, at one convention someone asked the panel what sort of symbolism they used – and they laughed and said they didn’t bother with that, they were genre writers, for God’s sakes.

That’s a terribly myopic way to go about looking at fiction, I think. Perhaps we must be dragged kicking and screaming into thoughtfulness.

The first of many steps

It’s just me and the little man for now, with the darling wife out of town on work, so yesterday we went for a walk in the gorgeous 70-something degrees, and when we came home we played with his walker.

His walker is a rather unwieldy plastic car with a big plastic handle on it – it’s shaped a bit like a lawnmower. It’s intended to train babies in walking, and last night he finally got the hang of it – though he likes to push it sideways, rather than from behind. It’s a lot like pushing a lawnmower from the side, with the wheels not engaging or rolling at all, and it looks like a LOT more work, but on our tile floor it’s fairly easy.

I cut up some orange slices and was feeding them to him, and he responded so positively I started working what I could get him to do for one.

For example – would he walk?

So far, the little man has been skating on the brink of walking for about a month or two. He can stand and walk with support very, very easily – and he’s displayed a frightening aptitude for climbing – but he doesn’t particularly like walking away from support. Though he does achieve a bit of a drunken stumble while bridging the gap in between two chairs or tables or whatever.

And last night, after some coercion from me, the cruelest daddy, he took 3-5 steps away from his walker, and stood, unsupported, while I fed him a piece of orange.

It was quite fun, and exhilarating in that ridiculous way all childhood achievements are – you think, I am yelling and clapping because this person took a single step and remained upright. But still! It’s something he’s never done before. The first of many.

We practiced for a bit, because daddy, being The Cruelest Daddy, wanted to get to 7-10 steps. But he began to protest, and we had to eat some green beans.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE for my son to continue walking – and to walk straight on into college – might I suggest possibly purchasing THE TROUPE?