A science fiction novella. When X discovers the existence of another―above ground, outside the protection of the Warren―he must learn what it means to be human, or face the destruction of their two species.
...a marvellously mystifying novella that wants to know what it means to be human in a world where people can be constructed like sculptures shaped from clay ... The Warren‘s broken story mirrors the broken being at its breast brilliantly, revealing fragments of fantastical narrative in the same breath as expanding our understanding of X as a character ... I’ve had my ups and downs with Brian Evenson’s work over the years, particularly with his tiresome tie-ins, but The Warren has all the intensity and intelligence of his tremendous 2009 novel Last Days. It may well be the best thing he’s written since.
X’s brain turns out to be a wonderful setting for a haunted-house story, because all sorts of diverse spirits are slithering around in there and playing tricks on him ... His struggle to find his way in this mental labyrinth is all the plot Evenson needs to spin a suspenseful, darkly comic tale ... The Warren is chilling because X’s situation is not only impossible but truly, inherently irresolvable. It ends as all horror stories should, with a question mark.
The Warren is the kind of deliciously frustrating fiction I have come to expect from Evenson since I dove head-first into his oeuvre less than a year ago. I thought I could swim well, but man, I've been thrashing around like an idiot just trying to keep my head above water. That's not to say his work is confusing in its complexity—his writing is actually quite direct—it's just that it makes you unsure of yourself and your place in the world. For The Warren takes on nothing less than the nature of identity and what it means to be 'human' ... Evenson masterfully doles out just the right amount of information, and in doing so puts us on an even playing field with the protagonist—never above him—which would put us in the god-like position of observer, as opposed to participant.