When the Twin Towers suddenly reappear in the Badlands of South Dakota twenty years after their
fall, nobody can explain their return. To the hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands
drawn to the "American Stonehenge" — including Parker and Zema, siblings on their way from
L.A. to visit their mother in Michigan — the Towers seem to sing, even as everybody hears a
different song. A rumor overtakes the throng that someone can be seen in the high windows of the
southern structure where, on the ninety-third floor, Jesse Presley — the stillborn twin of
the most famous singer who ever lived — suddenly awakes. Over the hours and days to come,
Jesse is driven mad by a voice in his head that sounds like his but isn't, and by the memory of a
country where he survived in his brother's place. Meanwhile, Parker and Zema cross a possessed
landscape by a mysterious detour no one knows, charted on a map no one has seen.
"Jaw-dropping.... Into the radical audacity of Shadowbahn, Erickson weaves an
intensely personal self-reckoning, a playlist for the dying American century, and his usual
lucid-dreaming prose. I've read every novel he's ever written and I'll still never know how he
does it; Erickson's not so much a writer's writer as a tour-de-forcer's
Jonathan Lethem, Granta
"It's hard to know where to begin. It's sad and it's droll, and sometimes it's gorgeous...
compassionate, weird, unpredictable, jaunty... alarmingly prescient.... In 2017,
Shadowbahn reads like an answer to and sanctuary from the American Century to come."
Fiona Maazel, New York Times Book Review
"A beautiful, moving, strange examination of apocalypse and rebirth."
"A great, great, great, great novel. I could say more — about its big-world
heartedness and old-world shadowness, about twins and towers, brothers and sisters, road trips
and borders we design and transgress, and mostly about Erickson's beautiful heart-bit music
— and it would add up to the same thing: great. Sung, of course."
"Wild, inventive and surprising, Shadowbahn combines the social novel,
science-fiction novel, and family novel. Steve Erickson is one of America's greatest living
"Shadowbahn is inspiring and singular, with lancing moments of intensity... Erickson is in
the league of Pynchon, DeLillo, Atwood, Rushdie, Okri, Pamuk, Ondaatje, Lethem — a maximal
Rick Moody, Swinging Modern Sounds
"The novel of now... the first novel of the Trump era. Erickson has written a battle
Michael Robbins, Chicago Tribune
"Shadowbahn isn't the novel we deserve, it is the novel we need... to Save American From
Joshua Chaplinsky, LitReactor
"In this audacious futuristic novel, Erickson takes on American myth and history, scrambling
mobile phone signals and playlists, pushing our imaginative borders along ever shadowy
Jane Ciabattari, BBC
"Shadowbahn has a simultaneous weight and lightness, mapping out a counter-history
where events that have touched all Americans are given new shape and speak in new
"Not so much about American history as about American memory... Shadowbahn will be an
epoch-defining book in Trump's America. It's an American Heart of Darkness almost by
Chris Vaughan, The Rumpus
"Shadowbahn grabs hold of its narrative idea early and never lets it go... a Southern
California Ballard or Beckett, Erickson was postmillennial long before the millennium ever got
Scott Bradfield, Los Angeles Times
"Devastating, perceptive, brilliant, written in the margins of the American songbook and the
shadow of the Twin Towers.... Erickson is among the handful of essential American novelists. His
books are great unravelings, exposing the deepest enigmas of the American experience."
"Who else but Steve Erickson could have imagined the hallucinatory composites that fill
Shadowbahn? History is shadowed by sparkling possibilities, dreams become reality, and
reality returns us to the music, the danger, the beauty and whimsy of the past, all converging with
a force no reader will resist."
"A one-of-a-kind work... [an] utterly Daliesque, polyphonic rhapsody of a book."
"Staggering. This is a book in which the vastness of American ambition and dreaming can take
your breath away and then, only a few lines later, make you tremble with the sense that we are
always living a hair's breadth away from catastrophe. Shadowbahn filled me with exultation
Charles Taylor, Los Angeles Review of Books
"A book like Shadowbahn serves as a bulwark against numbness and the dangerous belief
that the only response to incomprehensibility is inaction. Erickson has given us the first key
novel of the Trump Era."
David Leo Rice, The Believer
"Provocative throughout, alive with laughter and surprising in the ways it stirs the
John Domini, Washington Post
"Every time I open a Steve Erickson novel, I am whirled into a hundred layers of story —
of the stories no one else imagines — and I can't put it down. This time, the Twin Towers and
the Badlands: What could be more American, and more of the world?"
"Mindbending... daringly written... a gem of a novel."
"With Shadowbahn, Erickson stakes a claim to be one of the most centrifugal writers at
work today. Think Philip K. Dick on smoother acid and with a more up-to-date soundtrack, and you've
got something of this eminently strange, thoroughly excellent book."
"Shadowbahn is adventure, romp, exploration, an act of faith, dangerous, funny,
upsetting, certain to annoy the complacent (literary and otherwise), and imparts the uneasy
sensation that you're not reading it, it's reading you."