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The Fifty Year Sword [Kindle Edition]

Mark Z. Danielewski
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.00
Kindle Price: $12.99
You Save: $13.01 (50%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In this story set in East Texas, a local seamstress named Chintana finds herself responsible for five orphans who are not only captivated by a storyteller’s tale of vengeance but by the long black box he sets before them. As midnight approaches, the box is opened, a fateful dare is made, and the children as well as Chintana come face to face with the consequences of a malice retold and now foretold.

The blank pages in this book are a deliberate design element.

Editorial Reviews


“This first American edition of Danielewski’s novella, published in a different form in the Netherlands in 2005, has the theatrical quality of a children’s ghost story, complete with stitched-art illustrations (designed by the author), sweeping themes, and fairy-tale tropes . . . This would be well-suited to an oral reading and may be best thought of as an objet d’art that chillingly holds us accountable for our worst thoughts.”
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Mark Z. Danielewski was born in New York City and lives in Los Angeles. He is the author of House of Leaves, Only Revolutions and The Whalestoe Letters.

Product Details

  • File Size: 36754 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; Reprint edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007WKE5VQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,664 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing experimentation, but a little expensive May 14, 2009
I am biased towards much of MZD's work, though I am not a huge fan of *Only Revolutions,* because of the amazing impression that *House of Leaves* made upon me; so when I came across this title I was intrigued, but the price made me a little skeptical. After two years of debating, though, I shelled out the money, and I am not in the least disappointed.
The story is less experimental than some of MZD's other works, which some may find refreshing; but there is still an element of a raw-edge to the work. Characters are designated by small, colored apostrophes, and it is easy to forget who is speaking; creating one continuous narrative. The effect of this is mesmerizing and beautiful.
The one thing that is a slight issue is the price, and I would suggest looking around for good prices, the forum for *The Fifty Year Sword,* or T5YS as it is known among fans, at [...] is very helpful in this regard. The sellers at amazon, though, are always reliable and good people to go with. In the end I was happy with my purchase, because not only is the book undoubtedly worth it, but it is sure to become a sought after work in years to come.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MZD up to his usual tricks, a great (short) read November 22, 2012
By WEva
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a great admirer of MZD's work, and T50YS is no exception. I actually tracked down an original 50pg copy from the Netherlands last year for quite a hefty sum, and am both disappointed and delighted that it is now widely available at such a low price. Don't let the number of pages fool you, it is exactly the same story, just reformatted to a lofty 298pgs with more artistic inserts and less words per page. It is no mater, the novela is just as powerful, filled with eccentric characters and an intricately woven plot that is so mysterious it will keep the reader coming back for 2nd and 3rd helpings. MZD is one of the few authors who is trying to expand the medium of literature while simultaneously interact and engage the reader. MZD reminds us that literature can be more than just words on a page.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Intriguing January 5, 2013
By Zach
I had the pleasure of seeing the author, MZD, read this live in its entirety. This experience was amazing and wholly engrossing. However, I now realize that the author's words and musical accompaniment only accentuated aspects of the text. Reading the book again--and the book is short enough to read in one sitting--makes me realize that nothing is lost and this is not a performance piece. This is a standalone story that is beautifully written, thought provoking, and extremely well-designed from a typographic perspective. Note that this is not at all like MZD's House of Leaves, but is just as good in very different ways.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling tale April 16, 2007
By Dawn
Let me start by saying, I am a huge MZD fan. When I heard abot TFYS I had to read it. The cost was a bit much though. Finally, I got this book for my birthday and I was the happiest girl around. When I sat down to read it, I realized this book isn't very long. There aren't many words per page. It is, an excellent story, I read the book in one sitting. In fact, I couldn't put it down. But, for the price, I expected a bit more. If you liked House of Leaves, then you should read it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is almost unreadable on Kindle. Buy it in a physical format or you will lose the best parts of Danielewski's style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Check your library first December 6, 2012
After reading and loving House of Leaves, I've looked for other books by Danieleswki for a while. It was by total chance that I wandered by this one on the new book shelf at the library, and I eagerly snapped it up.

Obviously I knew to expect something strange and experimental, but HoL, this is not. The story revolves around a housekeeper and five orphans who have gathered for a party. There, they hear a tale from a story teller about the eponymous sword. However, all that exists are sparse snippets in quotation marks that are color-coded to each character (though it hardly seemed to matter who was speaking). There are times the narrative is confusing, intentionally, but overall there was a rather coherent story once I got into the right rhythm.

I debated between three and four stars. The confusion did begin grating on my nerves and the story that is there didn't seem overly original if you striped away the packaging. It wasn't a bad way to spend an hour, but it also probably won't cross my mind again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story November 2, 2012
By MeganB
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Perfect ending to a perfect story by Mark Z. Danielwski. This story has a different feel to it than his other books but it was still really great.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read. Not worth a buy. November 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Since the underground hit of House of Leaves, I have been an avid fan of Mark Danielewski. I have waited for a new novel by him for many years. I could not wait to get it. But I was let down by the image that the book presents. I.e. many people will by it strictly because they like House of Leaves. But The Fifty Year Sword does not compared to that master piece of literature at all. It does not even compare to Only Revolutions, which was not that great. Mark's popular work has always been experimental, and that is what I love about him. The Fifty Year Sword is experimental, but it is not a novel; I do not think, by word, count that it is a novella. There is about six or seven lines on each page, only on the front. Each "character" is color coordinated, but there is not a need for different colors; the only person telling the story is the narrator, and the "man" with the sword.

To be fair the story was very interesting and I plan on reading it again. It only took me about an hour and a half to read the entire book. And that included starring at the magnificent artwork embedded here and there.

I would recommend finding this book at a book store and try to read it. Or rent it from a library. Unless you are a hardcore fan, which I am, who only wants the book to shine on their shelf, do not buy. It is a little over a hundred page, not using the backs, with images. So, the way a regular novel goes it may be twenty pages, and I am being generous.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars all the while leaving a long locked case on the floor to pique their...
I've always wanted to read a Danielewski book, knowing the cult popularity of "House Of Leaves", and know that I have I must admit I'm not exactly sure what happened. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Erik Michael Oliver
1.0 out of 5 stars A review by Dr. Joseph Suglia, the Greatest Author in the World
A review of Mark Z. Danielewski's THE FIFTY-YEAR SWORD
by Dr. Joseph Suglia, the Greatest Author in the World

You can accuse an idiot of being an idiot, but this... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Joseph Suglia
1.0 out of 5 stars If you're into phonetics then this is the book for you
I'm about sixty pages into the book and the spelling and grammar are driving me crazy! I can get over the unique format of the book but the misspelled words and broken sentence... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Anthony
2.0 out of 5 stars meh.
My favorite book of all time is House of Leaves. I thought this book was destined to be just as awesome. It wasn't. It was slow, confusing, and uninteresting.
Published 9 months ago by Morgan
2.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't get into it either
Apparently I am one those who is enchanted with <i>House of Leaves</i> and hasn't liked anything else by the author. Pity. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift she treasures and keeps safe.
This was a gift for an avid book collector and this is truly one of her favorites. Great product. She even went to the book signing of the author.
Published 12 months ago by JoAnn Colleen
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, but not another "House of Leaves"
I have mixed feelings about this book. If you've read anything by Danielewski you know what you're in for. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Michael Botelho
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely Illegible
It is written so that five characters essentially say the same fragment on one page, and then starts afresh. I read 20+ pages and still couldn't find a plot. Read more
Published 17 months ago by gradstudent
3.0 out of 5 stars "The Fifty Year Sword"
From the bestselling author of House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski presents a chilling Halloween story as told third hand through characters in their own specific way with special... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Alex C. Telander
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THIS!!!!!!
This book does not "work" for the Kindle. I was so disappointed! Do not waste your money! The editing is not right for my Kindle. Was an expensive mistake, too.
Published 20 months ago by bferg
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