The Escapement

Philip K. Dick Award Nominee 2022

A boy lies in a hospital bed, and a desperate father escapes into a fantastical world to search for a cure. For everything is possible on the Escapement, a world inhabited by clowns, where clocks melt on the sand and terrifying giant statues roam the plains. Into that world rides the Stranger, desperately searching for a mythical flower with the power to heal.

But the flower lies beyond the Mountains of Darkness, far away, and time is running out as the Stranger journeys deeper and deeper into the secret heart of the Escapement – where an eternal war rages between the primal forces that rule there.

In The Escapement, World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar creates a magical, surrealist masterpiece as only he can, filled with wonder, mystery and adventure.


“To say The Escapement is unique sells it way short. It’s part weird western and part quest; half dream and half epic adventure tale set in a memorable Daliesque landscape. Tidhar lets his imagination run wild in this vivid book, all told in spare, beautiful prose.”
—Richard Kadrey, bestselling author of the Sandman Slim series

“Lavie Tidhar is a voice to be reckoned with. With The Escapement, he fearlessly crests the wave of the New New Weird with a wild, decadent hybrid of The Dark Tower and Carnivale. A vivid beach read, if the beach was made of greasepaint and gunpowder.”
—Catherynne M. Valente, author of Deathless

“Can we just all admit now that Lavie Tidhar’s a genius? He’s written another brilliant book—a beautiful fever dream that somehow manages to be laugh-out-loud funny, psychedelically weird, and deeply moving.”
—Daryl Gregory, award-winning author of Spoonbenders

The Escapement is absorbing, bizarre, haunting, and compelling. Lavie Tidhar continues to shatter the boundaries of literary and genre fiction with a novel that is equal parts horrifying dreamscape and an affecting meditation on parental love. There are a lot of books out there, but this is an experience.”
—David Liss, author of The Peculiarities


“Dazzling… Those who enter the Escapement should strap themselves in for horrors and wonders galore. Filled with contorted fairy tales, myths, and familiar stories, Lavie Tidhar’s latest novel is both a fantastical diversion and a moving articulation of deep parental love.” – Foreword

“Tidhar is a spellbinding stylist with a spell-casting imagination. Part fantasy, part sci-fi, part surreal mainstream, this novel plonks the reader into a vast, surreal landscape, the Escapement, in which clowns and stone monsters and cowboys and classic fictional characters coexist in a shifting tableau. The Stranger is our hero, a warrior searching for mythical flowers, even as in another universe he sits at his sick boy’s side in a hospital. None of this should work but all of it does, the author managing to evoke sadness, awe, and even humor. I could only compare my reading to old Philip K. Dick married to Samuel R. Delaney. The Escapement is a captivating triumph of imagination.” -Watch

“A delightfully cacophonous novel, teeming with character.” – Kirkus

“A surreal blend of Barnum and Bailey meets Stephen King’s Dark Tower and Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad and the Ugly… The genius of Tidhar, which he has repeatedly demonstrated, is that he can turn these literary and pop culture references into a gripping, moving narrative unlike anything you’ve read before. […] It’s precisely this upending of expectations, the masterful use of tone, the sheer chutzpah […] that makes Lavie Tidhar’s work so damn exciting. And in the case of The Escapement, what binds it all together, what makes it more than just a very clever, literate novel, is that it’s also a quietly tragic and touching story about parental love, the inarticulate fear of losing a child, and the impossible lengths a father will go to save his son.” – Locus

The Escapement is a fantastic and fantastical fever dream of a novel, a Weird Western via Lewis Carroll, Gilgamesh if had been translated and illustrated by Norton Juster and scored by Ennio Morricone, The Searchers if it had starred Buster Keaton, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had it been directed by David Lynch from a screenplay co-written by Steven King, Raymond Carver, and Italo Calvino and storyboarded by Salvador Dali. It’s a wondrous riot of imagination that veers back and forth from horrific to heartbreaking to laugh-out-loud funny to macabre to absurdist. Defying genre, defying categorization, even perhaps defying plot, Tidhar has crafted a baroque hallucinatory tale you have to let wash over you as much as you read it.” – Fantasy Literature

“A wild west of the subconscious… Like a surrealist cartoon co-written by Dr. Seuss and Ray Bradbury.” – The Forward


Paperback and e-book, Tachyon Publications, 2021



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Forthcoming from PS Publishing, 2021