book cover of A Better World
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A Better World

(2024)
A novel by

 
 
For fans of Nightbitch and While No One Is Watching, comes “one of the best books this year, or any year” (Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World)—a disturbing dystopian thrillfest about a woman moving to a glittering town of the future, whose investigation of a local tragedy puts a target on her back.

You’ll be safe here.

That’s what the tour guide promises Dr. Linda Farmer and her family when they move to Plymouth Valley. Sure, the locals are privileged hot house flowers who observe a weird religion Hollow, but the schools are blue ribbon, the air’s clean, the food’s fantastic, and Linda’s out of options. With the outside world in shambles, this move is her family’s last chance.

Linda, her husband, and their teen twins work hard to fit in, accommodating their square peg personalities into rounded holes. It works at first—the family rise up, gaining acceptance from the powerful elite. Then Linda encounters Gal Parker, a hot mess of a woman, whose wife has abandoned her and whose kids are sick. One terrible night, Gal commits an unthinkable act.

All of Plymouth Valley turns on Gal, refusing to speak her name. But Linda can’t stop wondering: what would drive a woman to do something so awful? The more she learns, the more frightened she becomes. A clock is ticking, too—before the Plymouth Valley Winter Festival, Linda’s got to figure out: should she and her family be fighting to stay, or fighting their way out?

A heart-poundingly ruthless dissection of wealth, power, and privilege,
A Better World is “more terrifying with every turn of the page” (Booklist, starred review) from a writer who “never ceases to amaze” (Gillian Flynn).


Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"A five-minutes-into-the-future dystopian satire that's so sharp and bloodthirsty you might think of Harvest Home as reimagined by Ira Levin. But the wit and empathy and thrumming cosmic dread are all pure Sarah Langan. It is, indeed, a better world with books like this out there." - Nat Cassidy

"Suspenseful, scathing, simultaneously deeply disturbing and wildly funny. . . . A delicious skewering of the Anthropocene and our desperation for 'beautification' at whatever cost. I couldn't put it down." - Julia Fine

"Sarah Langan never ceases to amaze: A Better World is terrifying, shocking, sinister . . . and yet heartfelt and often hilarious. Langan has created a United States of the future that feels darkly recognizable - a depository of our current fears about environment, government, health. Her bright, shiny, twisted little town of tomorrow, Plymouth Valley, is a dark, thrilling indictment on the choices we make today." - Gillian Flynn

"A chilling, heartbreaking exploration of our modern psyche. Sarah Langan has never been better or more insightful. There's more than one way to sell your soul, and Langan knows them all." - Christopher Golden

"Perfectly constructed social horror with emotional heft. A Rorschach test of all our modern fears anchored by the honest, human, heroic characters at the heart of it. A brilliant piece of writing." - Alma Katsu

"A Better World is truly fantastic. A moving portrait of a woman trying to save her family in a poisoned world. Mordant wit, insightful social commentary, and so much heart, Sarah Langan has written a gloriously humane novel." - Victor LaValle

"A woman in a troubled marriage moves to a perfect town riddled with secrets, and starts to question everything. Part dystopian horror, part domestic thriller, with a core of wry social commentary, A Better World is gripping literary fiction at its finest." - Sarah Pinborough

"When my sister asked me to recommend a novel for her to read at the hospital while she was giving birth, I suggested a book by Sarah Langan. While her dark, unsettling novels rooted in familial and community dysfunction might not seem like the most obvious choice of reading material for an expectant mother, her books are compelling enough to distract you from everything going on around you (including labor pains!) and, at the same time, so sensitively attuned to the delicacies of character that they leave you with a deeper understanding of the relationships in your life that matter most. A Better World is a fearless, frightening, yet strangely reassuring book that takes a pitiless look at the world we're building for our children - and then introduces us to a family doing its best to navigate that terrifying world with love, compassion, creativity, and humor. I loved it, and if my sister decides to bring another child into this rapidly disintegrating planet, I know exactly what book I'll recommend she take with her to the delivery room." - Kristen Roupenian


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