Wasp Box

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Wasp Box

A novel by Jason Ockert

When a soldier returning home to a small New York town inadvertently transports an invasive species of deadly parasitic wasps, he sets off a frightening chain of events that throws an entire community into an unpredictable crisis. Escalating in its psychological, emotional, and narrative intensity, Ockert's gripping first novel examines the choices individuals make in the face of danger, the limits of personal strength, and the value of family loyalty when the familiar world unravels.

"Wasp Box is full of wonders, by which I mean it's full of drunken fathers and the Finger Lakes of New York and middling wineries and too-smart-and-nosy-for-their-own-good kids and bomb shelters and young love and lost love and lost diaries and killer wasps. In this, his unbelievably smart, tense, breakneck first novel, Ockert has made something strange, and great, a book that is absolutely impossible to put down once you've started it."

Brock Clarke, author of The Happiest People in the World

"With sentences as darting and sharp as the wasps that haunt this remarkable debut novel, Jason Ockert has crafted an unforgettable vision of an America—and a family—in peril."

Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me

"Wasp Box may cause swelling, itching, anaphylactic shock, renal failure, barbed terror, stinging empathy, and profound joy."

Benjamin Percy, author of The Dead Lands

"What develops in Wasp Box is horrific, beautiful, bizarre, poignant and mesmerizing. The sensory and visceral detail will cause readers to claw at their legs and necks, jam fingers into their ears, or hop on one foot to shake from the head what may lurk inside. Wasp Box portrays families at their best and worst, strongest and weakest, closest and most distant. Above all, it offers a portrait of the resilience and reliance necessary to survive."

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Review by TheRumpus.net

"There's not an ounce of bloat in this book. Ockert's masterful usage of first person contributes to the story's immediacy. Ockert suggests that the wasps' agitation merely elevate the swarm that resides within all of us. By exercising control over his prose and his content-by making the focus of the book how Hudson's search for independence pushes against his father's desire to strengthen their relationship—Ockert manages to tall a narrow tale that pulses wide."

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Review by The Millions

"Jason Ockert's first novel is strangely magnificent. Deep down, Wasp Box is a love story: A soldier searches for a way to come home to his sweetheart, a man attempts to be a better father to his son, a quiet boy and an odd girl find companionship in each other and an old man struggles to cope without his deceased wife. But it's also a story filled with a quiet, lurking dread. It touches on the fear that lives inside all of us, a fear that literally surfaces when a soldier returned from war births a swarm of parasitic wasps that have been nesting in his brain, feeding on his insides. Are you cringing yet? Good. Those are just the first two pages."

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Review by Bookslut

"We come out of reading Wasp Box with the sense of having witnessed something important, gently warned to observe, to listen, to pay attention to that quiet buzzing in the backwoods and what it might mean, and to look to the sunlight and notice its spectacular fading."

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Review by Sycamore Review

"Wasp Box is an exciting read, particularly once the wasps are fully unleashed. It’s not merely a thriller, though, and Ockert gives significant attention to the emotional lives of his characters, which ups the stakes when they confront the wasps."

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Review by storySouth

"For those interested in a stunning plot that expertly encapsulates both the darkest and redeeming aspects of human existence, Wasp Box is worth the read."

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Review by The Collagist