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About the Author
Tariq Shah, born and raised in Illinois, writes fiction and poetry, and has work appearing or forthcoming in Jubilat, Heavy Feather Review, No, Dear Magazine, ANMLY (fka Drunken Boat), Gravel, BlazeVox, and other publications. From 2007-2009, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique, and he holds an MFA in Creative Writing from St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn, where he now teaches. His chapbook, heart assist device, was a finalist for the 2019 no, dear/small anchor press chapbook series. Whiteout Conditions is his first novel.
"10 books to read in winter 2020: It's a new literary year" --Laura Pearson, Chicago Tribune
"Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2020" --John Madera, Big Other
"Most Anticipated Books of 2020" --Volumes Bookcafe (Chicago, IL)
"13 Books CHIRB Staff Read In January 2020" --Chicago Review of Books
"'Funerals are kind of fun, ' the narrator of Shah's debut admits in the opening pages. 'I've cultivated a taste.' Then his childhood friend dies, and the narrator must brave a blizzard to pay his respects."
--Azam Ahmed, New York Times "Recent Books of Interest"
"Ant is borderline obsessed with funerals, likening the events to weddings as gatherings he looks forward to. Yet, when a childhood friend passes, Ant's veneer starts to crumble. Weirdly funny, Whiteout Conditions tracks Ant and his friend Vince as they make their way through Chicogoland's suburbs, which, in Shah's telling, are as harrowing as any arctic climate."
--Wendy J. Fox, BuzzFeed '15 Small Press Books To Kick Off Your 2020 Reading Season'
"In this slim but memorable debut novel, Ant, who lives on the East Coast, flies home to Illinois to attend the funeral of one of his oldest friends, Ray. Picking him up from the airport is Ray's cousin, Vince. Together they set out to drive to the funeral while untangling old hurts, popping Oxy, and grappling with adulthood's disillusionments."
--Tomi Obaro, Buzzfeed 'Most Highly Anticipated Books Of 2020'
"Like a poetic venture through the stubborn feelings of men, this short debut novel from Tariq Shah takes an uncomfortable look at loss, grief, and the lengths people go to avoid feeling pain."
--Jaylynn Korrell, Independent Book Review
"The protagonist of the short novel, Ant, attends a funeral, which would affect him more if he didn't enjoy funerals. A lot of it has to do with his history of loss, which makes for a stark, grim, yet hilarious perspective to explore timeless themes."
--Michael J. Seidlinger, Publishers Weekly, '15 New and Forthcoming Indie Press Gems'
"When people list things that they enjoy, funerals generally aren't one them. Ant finds joy in attending funerals. Yet, when the cousin of his childhood friend dies Ant is less enthused about attending. On its surface, Whiteout Conditions is a road trip story set against the backdrop of Midwest Suburbia. As the story progresses it becomes more of a rumination on loss, grief, and the ghosts in our rearview mirrors."
--Quinn Illgen, Changing Hands (Tempe, AZ)
"The grip of this thing squeezes well past its 110 pages. A little of this, a little of that, but reductive comparisons are no use here because Shah has taken the best qualities of existing tropes and made them his own. A wild, dangerous game of dodge ball played in the farthest corner of fiction's playground."
--Wesley Minter, Third Place Books (Seattle, WA)
"Dark and visual, Whiteout Conditions is a slow motion skid on black ice of a book. You might not want to keep reading, but it will be very hard to stop. Just steer into the skid. Well done, Tariq Shah."
--Mary O'Malley, Anderson's Bookshop (Naperville, IL)
"Whiteout Conditions is both disorienting and visceral, hilarious and heartbreaking."
--Michael Welch, Chicago Review of Books
"Whiteout Conditions, Tariq Shah's slim but powerful debut novel, focuses on grief, loss, and friendship in lyrical and stunning prose."
--Laura Spence-Ash, Ploughshares
"Shah reminds you that even though he's written a novel, he's still a poet... Whiteout Conditions explores how nostalgia and toxic masculinity operate (and fail) as a conduit for grief."
--Rima Parikh, Chicago Reader
"Mile by mile, an incoming blizzard paralleling the impending events and emotional landslide, this tale quietly grinds toward a gut-wrenching and unexpected conclusion."
--Beth Mowbray, The Nerd Daily
"The condition of Whiteout Conditions is the North American sublime, a grim, gnomic, hilarious dialect Tariq Shah inherits from Denis Johnson, Don DeLillo, the Coen Brothers, The Jesus Lizard, and Colson Whitehead. Like an icy sidewalk, Shah's deadpan wit and verbal wizardry will knock you flat on your ass."
--Jess Row, author of Your Face in Mine and White Flights
"In the brutal and beautiful Whiteout Conditions, a wasted road trip through America's suburban wastelands becomes an exploration of mortality, mercy and the mysteries of the human heart. Tariq Shah's sharp and surprising prose is the perfect vehicle for this bleakly comic novel, in which sparks of transcendence intermittently light up the dark."
--David Gates, author of Jernigan and A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me
"Tariq Shah's haunting novel Whiteout Conditions has the atmospheric rush of a winter fever dream. In his indelible main characters, Ant and Vince, Shah has created a quasi-brotherly relationship of sparring that reveals within their mutual antagonism an ultimate tenderness."
--Betsy Bonner, author of Round Lake
"Tariq Shah is one of the most daring young writers I've encountered, and Whiteout Conditions is a real original. Unsentimental, crisp, and ruthlessly cool, it is also surprisingly tender, with moments of great warmth and heart."
--Taylor Plimpton, author of Notes from the Night: A Life After Dark
"Written with stark lyricism, Whiteout Conditions is an unforgettable novel about an estranged young man, his reckless search for meaning around his post-suburban hometown, and the impossible beauty of redemption. A hell of a ride."
--Lee Clay Johnson, author of Nitro Mountain