We are thrilled to announce the fifth pick for our Trust Fall subscription club is Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson. Our booksellers have been mesmerized by this new novel, likening it to last year’s form-defying novel, S., and the work of Mark Danielewski and David Mitchell. We’ve made it our Top Shelf pick for October, will feature it in this year’s winter catalog, and have now named it Trust Fall #5! This is a highly collectible work that we love not only for its innovative design, but also because it’s set right here in Texas.
Trust Fall subscribers will receive a signed, first edition of this new novel, along with an advance copy of Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon, a hanging bat mobile designed by Dodson, a limited edition BOTR pin, and a surprise Texas-themed gift! Packages will ship at the end of October.
Trust Fall is a program designed to highlight must-read debut or break out novels we believe in. Previous picks include The Book of Speculation, Station Eleven and Descent. You can sign up for a quarterly subscription and receive four picks a year, or choose to order the latest package on its own.
Bats of the Republic is a novel that includes original artwork and incredible design, which come together with the story to create a unique novel of adventure, science fiction, political trickery, dystopian struggle and, at its core, love.
Check out the author’s video about the process of writing and creating this unique new book. Dodson is an artist in addition to a writer. All of his talents of design and storytelling are on display in this inventive new story set in past and future Texas. Here’s more:
Raul, BookPeople’s very own first floor inventory manager:
“A most imaginative book – ambitious in design and presentation! Dodson’s literary creation is a fantastic amalgam of mystery, science and historical fiction enhanced by original illustrations. In 1843 in Texas, Zadock Thomas falls in love with the daughter of his employer, Joseph Gray. To keep Zadock from his daughter, Gray him on a quest to deliver a secret letter to a rogue general somewhere in the Republic of Texas. 300 years in the future Republic of Texas, Zeke Thomas must fill the Senate seat left empty after the death of his grandfather, but he is held back by the appearance of an unknown secret letter that may devastate his bloodline. Dodson includes a fictional book within his story, about the Gray family and their uncanny connection to a secretive group of women who dream about the future (that they appear in the Texas of the future with more unearthly powers is a credit to the author’s creative genius). Fans of David Mitchell and Mark Z. Danielewski will rejoice at this wondrous work of fiction!”
Critical Praise for Bats of the Republic:
Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife:
“Bats of the Republic is a waking dream of America gone sideways: it’s familiar, enchanting, and just pretty damned weird in the most beguiling possible ways. Zachary Thomas Dodson has made a magnificent book.”
Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River:
“Amazing. Actually amazing. Zachary Thomas Dodson has created a new form to tell his story, and in so doing, he has found a way to fuse adventure to love, weld science fiction to sorrow, and encircle everything in a winsome, mystifying experience of art, illustration, and design. Like the living secrets its hero finds in the deep, forgotten caves of Texas, Bats of the Republic is itself a hidden, undiscovered beauty.”
“Spanning 300 years of an American ancestry, Dodson’s ambitious literary debut combines elements of a Wild West adventure with aspects of a dystopian sci-fi thriller. By 2143, the U.S. is divided into seven city-states whose citizens fear the very government protecting them from the untamed world that lies beyond guarded walls. After his grandfather, a beloved senator, dies, Zeke Thomas earns a fledgling government title and receives a letter that disappears before he opens it. With suspicious government officials spying on him, Zeke spirals into a paranoiac frenzy after his partner loses her job and he discovers secrets about her father. In one analogous story line, among others, naturalist Zadock Thomas delivers a mysterious letter from Chicago to pre-annexed Texas, hoping to satisfy his sweetheart’s father, the curator of the Museum of Flying. A designer by day, Dodson lovingly adorns his novel with diagrams, wildlife illustrations, and other ephemera, relaying the branching narratives through letters, field notes, digital transcripts, and fragments of a novel-within-a-novel. Extravagant and mesmerizing, Dodson’s complex, evocative tale gradually reveals a mythos surrounding love, adventure, and the natural world.”
“Intricately constructed and elaborately illustrated…The stories circle around and fold into each other (in one instance, literally) to delightful and dizzying effect. Dodson is a book designer, and the book is subtitled “an illuminated novel.” The often elaborate design serves the story, underscoring the various narrative voices and timelines, as well as adding visual texture. It’s a pleasure to get lost here, though you might be glad the author includes a few maps.”
Here’s a shot of Flight of Dreams and the BOTR pin each subscriber will receive (one each per box). Flight of Dreams is a captivating novel of love and murder, dreams and betrayal, history and imagination. Be one of the first to get wrapped up in this tale of romance and mystery before it goes out on our bookstore shelves.
Want in on this Trust Fall package? You can sign up for a quarterly subscription and receive four packages a year, or you can sign up to receive this Bats of the Republic box specifically. Trust Fall subscriptions can also be ordered and shipped as gifts to other book lovers in your life.