We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Banal Nightmare

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399618212

Price: £18.99

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

‘Halle Butler is a first-rate satirist of the horror show being sold to us as Modern Femininity. She is Thomas Bernhard in a bad mood, wearing ill-fitting tights, scrutinizing old take-out leftovers’ CATHERINE LACEY

A breakup. A college town. A group of jealous friends, tipping towards middle age. They go to parties, size each other up. At night, they obsess over past slights, dream of wild triumphs and indulge in elaborate revenge fantasies, all while imagining themselves at the beating heart of various political causes.

The cast of BANAL NIGHTMARE find themselves revolving around the same questions – the choice between freedom and defeat, ambition and humility, and the need to ‘speak their truth’ and the tendency to slip into brazenly confrontational behaviour.

In this brilliant, hilariously perceptive, and sadistically precise new satire, Halle Butler writes our reality askance, turning a keen eye to the so-called “stability” found in adulthood milestones. In doing so, she once again captures the volatile, angry, surreal, aggrieved, and entirely disorienting atmosphere of our current era.


Butler has crafted a novel in which every character proves to be completely, uniquely crazy. Her sense of humour should be studied and celebrated
David Sedaris
Halle Butler's Banal Nightmare is a masterpiece, her best book yet. It burns with a wild, unforgiving fire, making most other novels seem vague and ho-hum in comparison. This novel exhibits an eerily spot-on understanding of the private mind as it delves deep into an array of lives, revealing harrowing experiences of loneliness, love, heartbreak, abuse, malaise, depression, obsession, hatred, and revenge. No feeling is skipped over. No thought is simplified. No idea is dumbed down. Like a knife dancing through air, it's a manic, nerve-wracking read, painful and so weirdly funny. I felt gripped by it from beginning to end ... an unapologetic, totally original, modern marvel
Rachel B. Glaser, author of Paulina & Fran
Oh man, this book! Halle Butler's new novel is a blistering assault on contemporary pieties about art and love, an epic Woolfian tapestry of perfect comic rants, terrifying panic attacks, and, most gratifying of all, sincere attempts at human connection. This is the best, most ambitious book yet by one of my favourite writers
Andrew Martin, author of Early Work
Brilliantly observed and unsparing, Banal Nightmare is an intense, exhilarating, often-hilarious kaleidoscopic inquiry into contemporary relationships. With the comprehensive social gaze of Balzac and the cold logic of Renata Adler, Halle Butler conjures a latticework structure of life, rage, dark humor, and incalculable grace
Patrick Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
'In Halle Butler's world, everyone hates each other, every day is excruciating in its mundanity, every thought is the beginning of an Escherian journey round and round in hell, and somehow the whole thing is unbelievably funny. With the force of an episode of marijuana psychosis and the extreme detail of a hyperrealistic work of art, Banal Nightmare attempts transcendence through anxiety and dissociation, nailing a series of contemporary characters - better pray you're not one of them - to the wall
Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror