Good Neighbors

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Good Neighbors book cover

by Sarah Langan

Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Publisher: Atria Books
Hardcover: 304 Pages

Publisher Description

​Celeste Ng’s enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson’s creeping dread in this propulsive literary noir, when a sudden tragedy exposes the depths of deception and damage in a Long Island suburb—pitting neighbor against neighbor and putting one family in terrible danger.

Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.

But menace skulks beneath the surface of this exclusive enclave, making its residents prone to outrage. When the Wilde family moves in, they trigger their neighbors’ worst fears. Dad Arlo’s a gruff has-been rock star with track marks. Mom Gertie’s got a thick Brooklyn accent, with high heels and tube tops to match. Their weird kids cuss like sailors. They don’t fit with the way Maple Street sees itself.

Though Maple Street’s Queen Bee, Rhea Schroeder—a lonely college professor repressing a dark past—welcomed Gertie and her family at first, relations went south during one spritzer-fueled summer evening, when the new best friends shared too much, too soon. By the time the story opens, the Wildes are outcasts.

As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the other’s in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.

A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, Good Neighbors excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.

About the author

Sarah Langan, a Columbia MFA graduate and three-time recipient of the Bram Stoker Award, is the author of three novels including The Keeper. She grew up on Long Island and she currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughters. Find out more at SarahLangan.com.

Read more about Sarah ON HER WEBSITE

Praise

“You have to read Good Neighbors. Through Langan’s gift for mood and setting, I was absolutely transported to Maple Street—I feel like I lived in this book, walked in it, dreamed in it. The characters were strikingly real and I was utterly invested in their individual journeys. All of it—the characters, the setting, the sinkhole, the heat—made this book the masterpiece that it is. Real and sad and almost painfully moving, Good Neighbors is a novel I will never forget.” —Sally Hepworth, bestselling author of The Mother-in-Law

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“Langan’s sharply observed novel is a study of mob mentality with a healthy dose of dry humor and, of course, a generous side dish of murder.” —CrimeReads

“One of the creepiest, most unnerving deconstructions of American suburbia I’ve ever read. Langan cuts to the heart of upper middle class lives like a skilled surgeon.” —NPR

“A modern-day CrucibleGood Neighbors brilliantly explores the ease with which a careless word can wreak havoc and the terrifying power of mob mentality. Beneath the surface of a suburban utopia, madness lurks. The veneer of civility among close neighbors disguises hypocrisy, envy, and hatred. Langan deftly unveils the psychology behind her character’s actions with blistering prose and spot-on depictions. She is a writer to watch!” —Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“Sarah Langan is a phenomenal talent with a wicked sense of wry humor. Good Neighbors knocked me out. Like Shirley Jackson’s novels, Langan’s work blends a bleak streak with an underlying sense of the humane that wrung my heart.” —Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

Good Neighbors was such a fun read—fun in a brilliant, twisted, dark, compulsive-reading kind of way! I loved the structure of it, with the little hints Langan threw my way about the Maple Street Murders—I just had to keep reading, because I had to know what happened. She is so good at showing how the idle gossip of suburbia can turn darker, malevolent, and downright dangerous. Wonderful stuff!” —Claire Fuller, author of Bitter Orange

Good Neighbors is a riveting critique of American suburbia. Langan deftly confronts social mores and beliefs as she tears all the ugliness down to make something dangerous and beautiful. The monsters of Maple Street have never been so us.” —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

“In the wonderfully inventive Good Neighbors, Sarah Langan takes her readers on a wild ride through suburbia. As sinkholes open and rumours rise, I couldn’t stop turning the pages to find out what new terrible event would befall these fascinating characters, each with a secret sorrow. A gripping read.” —Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The Boy in the Field

“There’s a monster in each of us, in all of us, and there’s a sinkhole in our hearts, too. Good Neighbors will walk you right up to the lip of that cavity, and make you look in, at your own monstrousness.” —Stephen Graham Jones, acclaimed author of The Only Good Indians

“A creepy standout for readers who want an extra kick to their suburban dramas.” —Booklist (starred review)

“An incredibly dark (and surprisingly fun) page-turner.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Where the hell has Sarah Langan been? Because she suddenly pops up again after being MIA for eleven years and shotguns everyone in the face with an all-American horror novel about friendships—deep, shallow, toxic, true—that’s unpredictable enough to make every page-turn stomach-crampingly stressful.” —Grady Hendrix, New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

“Witty dialogue abounds, and Langan sets up an ambitious structure by incorporating tabloid excerpts of the Wildes’ past and studies of the sinkhole published in the future. This sharp, propulsive novel pulls off a maximalist variation on suburban gossip gone wrong.” —Publishers Weekly

“Langan weaves interviews and news clips into her tightly written, fast-paced narrative, conveying the infectious spread and mutation of stories goaded by media sensationalism and attention-seeking neighbors. As gossip and rumors swell and proliferate, the stakes grow exponentially as well. The richly complex main characters reveal flawed pasts and duplicitous natures as the story transforms into a witch hunt. . . . Intricate and edgy, Good Neighbors is a descent into depraved suburban drama, perfect for fans of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Stephen King-style thrills.” —BookPage

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