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The Fifty Year Sword Hardcover – October 16, 2012
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—The Boston Globe
“This gorgeous trade edition . . . gives further evidence that Danielewski is one of the most gifted and versatile writers of our time.”
—The Washington Post
“[A] captivating atmospheric journey, one that defies the norm of just reading a book. Danielewski, like his undeniably creepy and possibly ethereal antagonist, isn’t merely a storyteller. He creates experiences, multi-dimensional pieces of art that don’t conform to one genre, and that beg for physical engagement from the audience. The Fifty Year Sword follows in the tradition of Henry James’ ‘The Turn Of The Screw’ and the work of Washington Irving, but in a distinctly postmodern context. It’s a beautifully haunting, resonant multimedia adventure.”
—The A.V. Club
“A seriously experimental confection of modern horror literature. . . . Composed mostly of dialogue, some attributed to various speakers, some not, some near-abstract drawings of needlework constructions, and a lot of white space—all wrapped in the pages of a very classy piece of book production—The Fifty Year Sword might be the oddest book of the year. In certain ways, it might be the most interesting and enjoyable. . . . I imagine people getting together late at night and, as they read the book aloud, conjuring up this East Texas night, in which immediate danger and antique fairy-tale horror come together, joined by the slender threads of this one-of-a-kind narrative genius, a writer a lot closer to Edgar Allan Poe than he is to most of his contemporaries.”
—Alan Cheuse, Dallas Morning News
“Danielewski echoes the oral tradition of ghost stories by employing the voices of five orphans to take turns narrating. . . . The writing itself occasionally hits on a detail disturbing enough to fall like freezing water down the reader’s spine.”
—Time Out New York
“I entered The Fifty Year Sword prepared to be bewildered, but . . . we’re drawn into the narrative. . . . A goth hero’s quest . . . a fairy tale narrated by a Greek chorus. . . . Mark Z. Danielewski might be America’s most successful experimental fiction writer.”
—Daniel Handler, The New York Times Book Review
“A swift, old-style ghost story with crisp, eerie illustrations. The text itself becomes blade cuts. The tale’s momentum and dark tone take over, speeding the story to its surprise end. . . . The Fifty Year Sword is a pleasure to read.”
“This strange novella is a new spin on Poe-esque ghost stories, and is being delivered in its new form full of beautiful (and sometimes beautifully grotesque) stitched illustrations, the colors of Halloween's season, and typography that actively follows what happens within the story. And so The Fifty Year Sword continues with Mark Z. Danielewski’s explorations of the art of visual storytelling, and what's on the line when it comes time to tell (or re-tell) a story.”
“Absorbing, spooky, and playful.”
“A sometimes arid, sometimes entertaining ghost story for grown-ups by pomo laureate Danielewski. . . .
Likely destined to become a cult favorite.”
“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.”
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Much as in<i>Only Revolutions</i> the art project typographical conceits of this work made it too difficult to read and I couldn't get interested. In HoL these were introduced subtly and built steadily in magnitude and weirdness as the work progressed, allowing the readers to adjust and emphasizing the descentsinto madness of the characters and plot. alike
In this work and OR it just starts off strange and I couldn't get any literary footing. It's rather pretty to look at and I'll keep it around for that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would recommend this book to someone , it's a whirlwind of intense emotion, keeping you at the edge of your seat.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
I enjoyed it but it takes a bit to get into and then it hooks you. My advice if you're struggling to figure it out or stay interested just keep reading you'll get therePublished 5 months ago by nstock1283
One of the great horror stories ever. Bring a real Sword Hilt and you can really terrify your less clever pals.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Reading this book was hard. The author is a non-traditional writer, and although I loved House of Leaves, this one left a very bad impression. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Msmdgreen
Very good book, quick read took me about 2 hours. This is a book I would go as far to say could be read to elementary kids. Visually appealing with the illustrations. Read morePublished 10 months ago by David Lee Obregon
I've read two others from this group of books, they are amazing. His writing is dark and makes you think you are in the story with them.Published 10 months ago by Anthony Oberski