A cunning, outside-the-box satirical thriller about a family’s odyssey into an exclusive enclave for the wealthy that might not be as ideal as it seems.

You’ll be safe here. That’s what the tour guide tells the Farmer-Bowens when they visit Plymouth Valley, a walled-off company town with clean air, pantries that never go empty, and blue-ribbon schools. On a very trial basis, the company offers to hire Linda Farmer’s hus­band, Russell, a numbers genius, and relocate her whole family to this bucolic paradise for the .0001 percent. Though Linda will have to sacrifice her medical career back home, the family jumps at the opportunity. They’d be crazy not to take it. With the outside world falling apart, this might be the Farmer-Bowens’ last chance.

But fitting in takes work. The pampered locals distrust outsiders, snubbing Linda, Russell, and their teen twins. And the residents fervently adhere to a group of customs and beliefs called Hollow...but what exactly is Hollow?

It’s Linda who brokers acceptance, by volunteering her medical skills to the most influential people in town through their pet charity, ActHollow. In the months afterward, everything seems fine. Sure, Russell starts hyper­ventilating through a paper bag in the middle of the night, and the kids have become secretive, but living in Plymouth Valley is worth sacrificing their family’s closeness, isn’t it? At least they’ll survive. The trouble is, the locals never say what they think. They seem scared. And Hollow’s ominous culminating event, the Plymouth Valley Winter Festival, is coming.

Linda is warned by her husband and her powerful new friends to stop asking questions. But the more she learns, the more frightened she becomes. Should the Farmer-Bowens be fighting to stay, or fighting to get out?

Sarah Langan’s latest novel, A Better World, is gleefully ruthless in its dissection of wealth, power, and privilege, timely in its depiction of a self-destructing world—and it is a prescient warning to us all.

About the author(s)

Sarah Langan, a Columbia MFA graduate and three-time recipient of the Bram Stoker Award, is the author of several novels including A Better World and Good Neighbors. She grew up on Long Island and she currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughters. Find out more at


“Sarah Langan never ceases to amaze: A Better World is terrifying, shocking, sinister . . . and yet heartfelt and often hilarious. Langan has created a United States of the future that feels darkly recognizable—a depository of our current fears about environment, government, health. Her bright, shiny, twisted little town of tomorrow, Plymouth Valley, is a dark, thrilling indictment on the choices we make today.” —Gillian Flynn

"A Better World is truly fantastic. A moving portrait of a woman trying to save her family in a poisoned world. Mordant wit, insightful social commentary, and so much heart, Sarah Langan has written a gloriously humane novel."—Victor LaValle

"A five-minutes-into-the-future dystopian satire that’s so sharp and bloodthirsty you might think of Harvest Home as reimagined by Ira Levin. But the wit and empathy and thrumming cosmic dread are all pure Sarah Langan. It is, indeed, a better world with books like this out there."—Nat Cassidy, bestselling author of Nestlings and Mary: An Awakening of Terror

"When my sister asked me to recommend a novel for her to read at the hospital while she was giving birth, I suggested a book by Sarah Langan. While her dark, unsettling novels rooted in familial and community dysfunction might not seem like the most obvious choice of reading material for an expectant mother, her books are compelling enough to distract you from everything going on around you (including labor pains!) and, at the same time, so sensitively attuned to the delicacies of character that they leave you with a deeper understanding of the relationships in your life that matter most. A Better World is a fearless, frightening, yet strangely reassuring book that takes a pitiless look at the world we're building for our children—and then introduces us to a family doing its best to navigate that terrifying world with love, compassion, creativity, and humor. I loved it, and if my sister decides to bring another child into this rapidly disintegrating planet, I know exactly what book I'll recommend she take with her to the delivery room."—Kristen Roupenian, author of Cat Person and Other Stories