The Fifty Year Sword


13531066

THE BOOK,
by Mark Z. Danielewski, is apparently an adaptation of a shadow theater show about a ghost story teller. This author is known for his unusually printed books.
WHY I PICKED IT UP
The unique cover design initially attracted me, and the jacket blurb is intriguing.
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED
I stopped a few pages in as the main character debates whether to attend the Halloween party at which the story’s events take place. I stopped reading because the story’s layout is very taxing to decipher; almost every sentence is interrupted by another statement, which is related to the first but at times tangential. The spacing and word choice is odd as well, resulting in a disorienting experience.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING
I would have read further if the print were normally spaced. I found it too tiring to continually sort out the multiple threads of narration, especially since little was actually happening in the narrative. This was no doubt a stylistic choice meant to evoke the feel of a live show in which there are multiple narrators interrupting each other, but I found it wholly unnecessary. Books and shows are different media and deserve different treatment, obviously.

The dust jacket sounds interesting and, from flipping ahead to the end, I can tell there is something worth reading here. I’d like to see the shadow play.

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