The new novel from the author of the cult bestseller, House of Leaves
Mark Z Danielewski lives in Los Angeles. He is the author of House of Leaves.
Two wayward kids named Sam and Hailey bounce through American history on the ultimate road trip. With (appropriately) a 12-city tour; from the author of the noteworthy House of Leaves. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A pastiche of Joyce and Beckett, with heapings of Derrida's Glas and Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 thrown in for good measure, Danielewski's follow-up to House of Leaves is a similarly dizzying tour of the modernist and postmodernist heights and a similarly impressive tour de force. It comprises two monologues, one by Sam and one by Hailey, both "Allmighty sixteen and freeeeee," each narrating the same road trip, or set of neo-globo-revolutionary events or a revolution's end: "Everyone loves the Dream but I kill it." Figuring out what's happening is a big part of reading the book. The verse-riffs narrations, endlessly alliterative and punning (like Joyce) and playfully, bleakly existential (like Beckett), begin at opposite ends of the book, upside down from one another, with each page divided and shared. Each gets 180 words per page, but in type that gets smaller as they get closer to their ends (Glas was more haphazard), so they each gets exactly half a page only at the midway point of the book: page 180 or half of a revolution of 360 degrees. A time line of world events, from November 22, 1863 ("the abolition of slavery"), to January 19, 2063 (blank, like everything from January 18, 2006, on), runs down the side of every page. The page numbers, when riffled flip-book style, revolve. The book's design is a marvel, and as a feat of Pynchonesque puzzlebookdom, it's magnificent. The book's difficulty, though, carries a self-consciousness that Joyce & Co. decidedly lack, and the jury will be out on whether the tricks are of the for-art's-sake variety or more like a terrific video game. (Sept. 5) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Praise for House of Leaves: 'A great novel. A phenomenal debut. Thrillingly alive, sublimely creepy, distressingly scary, breathtakingly intelligent.'"
"Superbly inventive . . . a rare debut: genuinely exciting."
"The fictional equivalent of an earthqauke zone"
"Remarkable . . . a debut of scintillating intelligence and scope"
"Genre-defying . . . at once a genuinely scary chiller, a satire on the business of criticism and a mdeitation on the way we read"