Siberia, 1953. Stalin is dead and a once-prosperous thief named Alek Karriker is feeling the pressure. Trapped in an icy prison camp where violent criminals run the show, betrayed by his friends and his body, Karriker is surrounded by death and disorder. Bizarre Inuit shamans are issuing ever-stranger commands that he must obey. Opium is running scarce and bad magic is plentiful. Razor-tooth gangsters can smell Karriker’s blood and they plan to murder him more than once. The only option: ESCAPE.
Enlisting the aid of an aging guard, a cold-blooded killer, and a beautiful, murderous nurse, Karriker must now secure his getaway by finding a "calf": a gullible prisoner to be cannibalized when the tundra is at its most barren. As the vice grows tighter and life in the gulag becomes increasingly surreal, Karriker must hurry to find his mark and convince him...
BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS
“BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE'LL BE FRIENDS is a David Lynchian nightmare set in a Russian gulag, where its prisoners, guards, traitors, soldiers, lovers, and demons fight for survival and their own rapidly deteriorating humanity. Osborne's debut…is paranoid, cold, brutal, haunting, mystifying (in a good way), and totally unforgettable.”—PAUL TREMBLAY, author of The Little Sleep and In the Mean Time
“[A]n opium-laced fever dream, swinging readily between the surreal and the horrifyingly, starkly real. Siberia is a place, metaphoric and literal: It's an inescapable, brutal state of mind. Give in to the voices and let this story deliver its kaleidoscopic nightmare, sly lines, and the truth of a bloody, damaged, beating, human heart.”—MONICA DRAKE, author of Clown Girl
“The only thing crueler and weirder than life in Osborne's Stalinist gulag is the afterlife. Wringing an ergot-laced harvest of agony and absurdity from the bleak Siberian tundra, BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS manages the nigh-impossible feat of making Kafka's Penal Colony look like a Sweet Valley High romance.”—CODY GOODFELLOW, author of Perfect Union, Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, and Radiant Dawn/Ravenous Dusk
“This lyrical spatter of inspired dementia… reminds me of Celine in serious nightmare mode, and yet its brutality is quiet—gentle even. To find yourself enjoying forensic black humor scenes of disgust and revulsion is a tribute to Osborne’s writing….”—KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, author of Zanesville, Private Midnight and Enigmatic Pilot
"Like a rat in a bag of deer meat—this is BY THE TIME WE LEAVE talking—[it] scuttles around inside you as you read it, and you come to know that rat as your own heart. And it knows you back, has all along.”—STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES, author of It Came from Del Rio
I couldn't be prouder to be releasing J. David's debut. This book is fantastic.
And, if you know someone for whom cold, barren landscapes filled with surreal death presses their buttons... well, that's weird, but they would fucking love this for X-mas.