Praise for The Infernal
"The Infernal is insane. Mark Doten turns his war criminals into the lecherous cartoons they might really be, as if the Warren Report were a drugged-out musical. From now on I want all of my novels this brilliant, this crazily pitched, this original."
/ Ben Marcus / author of The Flame Alphabet
"Kurt Vonnegut took on the Second World War. Robert Coover, Thomas Pynchon and Joseph Heller grappled with Vietnam. In the same spirit of dark comedy and riotous satire, Doten powerfully reimagines our latest American adventure."
/ Nathan Deuel / The Los Angeles Times
"Mark Doten has fashioned a thrilling, idiosyncratic attack on the mytho-historical madness of our time. The Infernals is a brave, crazy, magnetic debut."
/ Sam Lipsyte/ author of The Fun Parts
"Doten’s debut is the most audaciously imaginative political novel I’ve ever read... the sheer poundage of originality is remarkable."
/ Martin Riker / The New York Times Book Review
“Serious, future-altering genius.”
/ Denis Cooper / author of The Marbled Swarm
"To Doten, information is the soul; it is inside us, and it is evil.... Doten has written a ravishingly mad post-Bush riposte to the collaboratively written Internet text—the Wiki, which doesn't document facts so much as it documents the process by which 'facts' are generated and then perpetually overwritten."
/ Joshua Cohen / Harper's
"Doten has created an impressionistic map of the atomized imperial realities of the War on Terror, and it is every bit as harrowing to consider as the inane and bloodthirsty era it depicts."
/ David Roth / The Believer
"We've watched films portraying and critiquing 9/11. We've read sober nonfiction books chronicling it and thoughtful fiction by soldiers — some with MFAs — who are beginning to process what they saw there. But what we haven't read is anything quite like The Infernal, Mark Doten's deliriously demented new novel....it's not just the book we've maybe wanted but possibly the book we've needed — a strange lens to help us understand who we were, what we've done and who we may yet become.... A screaming hysterical novel of protest, the kind rarely seen since the heyday of Thomas Pynchon... This is our legacy writ large and scrambled."
/ J.T. Price / The Daily Beast
"[A] prodigious, provocative debut. . . . Touched by brilliance throughout."
/ John Domini / The Washington Post
"The Infernal fuses its inventiveness with an acute political perception and a nuanced literary sensibility...Human beings are expendable and their bodies are completely lost — sliced-up, broken open, and taken away, literally, by the world-turned-hell. And that reality, after all, might not be difficult to imagine."
/ Alex Norcia / The Los Angeles Review of Books
"[A] sumptuous soup of big ideas and damaged psyches, conveyed in complex prose that doesn’t hold the reader’s hand. It’s a challenge, but a rich and rewarding one."
/ Alex McCown / A.V. Club
"Eichmann on OxyContin"
/ Casey Michael Henry / The Brooklyn Rail
"By turns gruesome, absurd and darkly hilarious, The Infernal acts as a critique of the fuzzy rhetoric that politicians deploy to make things like “waterboarding” sound soft. Thanks to Mark Doten, we can see this war that still haunts us in a new and necessary light."
/ Josh Cook / The Star Tribune
"A stylish, surreal portrait of a 21st century gone mad."
/ Kirkus (starred)
"The Infernal is certifiably insane, a monstrous, cartoon nightmare of a book....[Doten] thinks that 21st-century America is sick, but The Infernal isn’t a diagnosis. It’s a bloodletting. As the Omnosyne extracts the Akkad Boy’s confession and the voices of those in power and the powerless inculpate themselves with every profession of innocence, the reader has the sense that all the lies and deceit of the last dozen years, the courage shown and the suspicion that it meant little, have been brought together in one place, between the covers of a single book. Here’s hoping that people open it."
/ Adam Fleming Petty / The Millions
"The Infernal is an expression of American derangement, but it’s also a knowing one. I’ll admit: it’s not easy to tell whether its author is psychotic or if he — like the charred boy at the center of his novel — is simply channeling American psychosis. The proof of the latter, I think, lies in the novel’s allusive and often brilliant prose, which marks it as a compendium of known unknowns, one that points to a new generation of war novels wherein meaning itself has been sanitized and redacted, and where it might yet again be redeployed."
/ Jonathon Sturgeon / Flavorwire
“The Infernal is a tremendous novel: tightly controlled, swift and intelligent, compelling and suspenseful. Mark Doten holds a mirror up to society, showing us not only what it means to live in a post 9/11 world, but what it means to be human. I loved this book.”
/ Molly Antopol/ author of The UnAmericans
“Mark Doten is a tremendous and protean talent. The Infernal—monstrous and resplendent—is an essential novel of the war on terror, which Doten renders plainly as the cacophonous self-made Hell that it plainly is. His demonic vision reveals crucial and damning truths.”
/ Justin Taylor / author of The Gospel of Anarchy
"A military database of privileged information, culling the War on Terror and Facebook's death march into a high-level rolodex of worlds within our world. A great and hopeful mark for the direction of 2015, where anything can happen."
/ Blake Butler / VICE
“From the first page to the last, The Infernal explodes like a roll of Black Cats in a dazzling, deafening, brilliant display of linguistic and intellectual energy. It will thrill you, confound you, and ultimately force you to submit to its perspective, and in the end it will change the way you think about the world you live in.”
/ Dale Peck / author of Martin and John
"In Doten’s artfully deranged debut novel, the 'war on terror' is revisited as a feverish science-fiction odyssey starring disfigured versions of Osama bin Laden, Condoleezza Rice, and Mark Zuckerberg.... Doten frames his post-historic 'memory index' in virtuosic, antic prose, but his goal is neither purely satire nor surrealism for its own sake. Rather, his novel constructs a new language to confront atrocity."
/ Publishers Weekly