Clouds Are the Mountains of the World
Forthcoming June 2024 from Woodhall Press.
"Clouds are the Mountains of the World is a compelling vision rendered in language, both surreal and chillingly familiar, that summons the apocalyptic dreams of Bruegel and Bosch."
ISBN: 978-1-9604-5605-2. You can read a story from Clouds Are the Mountains of the World here.
"This terrifying and comic novel-in-stories unfolds in the American heartland during a time – not many years hence – when the insurrectionists, militias, and purveyors of fake news have carried the day. Rule of law is a memory. Marauders roam the land, taking and raping what they will. People live by their wits, and scruples are a luxury few can afford. The settings here are exotic, dangerous – burned-out towns, desert borderlands, highways that cut through depopulated prairie, communes controlled by sicko zealots, and the isolated forests of the Boundary Waters. The world Davis conjures is an existential horror, and yet his characters manage to find and create humanity and light, three of them – a grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter – the heroines whose resilience, love, and stoic humor give this book its narrative power and its shimmering, if tentative, offer of hope. Clouds are the Mountains of the World is a compelling vision rendered in language, both surreal and chillingly familiar, that summons the apocalyptic dreams of Bruegel and Bosch."
-Lin Enger, author of American Gospel, Undiscovered Country, The High Divide
"What distinguishes Alan Davis' stark, beautifully written, post-apocalyptic Clouds Are the Mountains of the World from other dystopian novels about a world gone to hell is its very ordinariness, its disconcerting banality. While Davis' vision of a post-Trump world does, indeed, include gun-toting bands of Marauders and militias, corrupt police and crazy radio talk-show hosts, a world of racism and economic and political chaos, they merely form the backdrop for humanity's real scourge—itself. Its selfishness, narcissism, irrational fear, tribalism, and above all, its mindless love of violence. In scene after scene in this novel-in-stories, we see what one of the main characters, Ava, says is the true problem: "Hell is other people." But the novel avoids cynicism and holds out that the only true hope for humanity is also people. Throughout we see the heroic quest of a family to reunite, despite the social upheaval and the daunting odds against them. Written in sparse, poetic prose, Clouds demonstrates that both our curse and our salvation lie within."
-Michael C. White, author of Soul Catcher, A Brother's Blood and other novels
"The characters in Alan Davis's Clouds are the Mountains of the World are, like many of us, either afflicted by or surviving the impact of two lingering viruses—one of them biological, shared through spit and air, and the other a more insidious, contagious spread of small-minded and fearful ideals that breed violence, ignorance, and distrust. From the inside of a car to the inside of a suburban bubble to the inside of a dive bar, Davis's Midwesterners grapple with or have adapted, in their unique ways, to these destructive outside forces and carry on in their relentlessly, and sometimes absurdly, human ways that can also, despite their intentions, be beautiful. Litta, one of the book's recurring characters, at one point remembers a friend who died and was buried: "It gave her comfort to imagine blossoms growing out of his skull." Davis's America of the future is like that skull, the remains of what was--and what will never be again. His characters are the blossoms growing out of it."
-Kristen Tsetsi, author of The Age of the Child and Pretty Much True
"In prose as stark and striking as a prairie landscape, Alan Davis evokes an all-too-believable post-apocalyptic America that's become 'just a place to get up each morning and do something to stay alive.' But even in this lawless and haunted AfterTimes, Davis's main characters harbor connections that make them feel there is 'nobody else in the world.' The fierce troubled love connecting a grandmother, mother and grandchild is the radiant thread drawing together separate stories of wildly disparate survivors into a single moving chronicle. Like gradually gathering storm clouds, this epic novel builds force with quiet power, then bursts into a final cleansing release, as two souls find each other, 'the last two people on earth.'"
-Elizabeth Searle, author of five books of fiction and co-writer of the film I'll Show You Mine.