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June 10, 2006

{     Mark Z. Danielewski's The Fifty Year Sword     }    

The enigmatic Mark Z. Danielewski is trying his hardest to maintain the cult status earned by his first novel. Taking ten years to complete, House of Leaves was published way back in 2000 but the pandemonium caused by the book only seems to resonate with more fervor with each passing year as knowledge of the book is spread exponentially by word of mouth. This post-modern horror novel coils and spins and ties knots in itself with two simultaneous narratives and a multitude of footnotes and indices. One narrator writes with a pretentious academic cadence while the other spits and raves like a lunatic. For those of you who waded through House this short story will seem like an appetizer for his next novel which comes out later this year. In keeping with his layered, multi-faceted approach to writing in which many different (sometimes conflicting) points of view are presented, Danielewski offers us The Fifty Year Sword. The shtick with this one, however, is that there are now five different narrators all telling one coherent story. We are never told their names; instead Danielewski indicates the various interjections with five different colored quotation marks. The plot is far too strange to try to summarize but it all wraps up very neatly when compared with House. In fact, everything about the book, from its odd shape to the twelve gorgeous prints by Dutch artist Peter van Sambeek, even the “happy” ending, calls to mind a twisted and fanciful children’s book where the themes of delayed gratification are taught hand in hand with revenge. This book was not easy to acquire. It was only printed in Amsterdam and a mere 1000 copies were made in English. The website that sells the book is entirely in Dutch so you’ll need to find a Dutch to English translator on the Internet to even know where to begin. It took me about thirty minutes to actually purchase the book and it ended up costing about sixty dollars. If you’re feeling loaded or just plain lazy, however, you can find a copy on eBay for anywhere from $300 to $1000. I predict that in the very near future Danielewski’s reputation is going to get out of hand. He’s got way too much talent to keep hidden away for very long. You collectors out there might want to scarf up this deal before it’s gone. Review by Sean Laishley

     » spreekt u het Nederlands? The Fifty Year Sword

Comments

Wow. I'm almost angry at how badly I want to read something that is so incredibly difficult to acquire ;)

Posted by: shane at June 10, 2006 1:08 AM

Want to borrow it? My girlfriend's got it right now, but I'll put you next on the list.

Posted by: sean at June 10, 2006 4:12 PM

Oh my god, the frustration is getting to me as well. However I don't have the money to dish out for the book here and the US. And the website that was selling it is all out. *sigh*

Posted by: Kaleigh at September 14, 2006 10:19 PM

Hi all !!!

End ^) See you

Posted by: windowbo at January 29, 2008 5:09 AM

Sorry, but what is kimerikas?

Jane.

Posted by: sweeta-yk at March 27, 2008 5:55 AM

Sorry, but what is kimerikas?

Jane.

Posted by: sweeta-yk at March 27, 2008 5:56 AM
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