reviewing books

Two new reviews up. One of them however, is currently unavailable at Manarchy Magazine due to some things I don’t really understand. Whole website is temporarily down, but should hopefully return by the end of the week. I’ll post a link when the time is right. One is a review of Mark Z Danielewski’s latest release, The Fifty Year Sword. Excerpt:

But let’s talk about The Fifty Year Sword. Five nameless narrators tell the story of a seamstress and her twin sister watching a man read a story to five orphans. That really is all that happens. However, there is also so much more happening in this book. A ghost story that the reader lives through and feels as the text becomes more visual with illustrations running over the page, the words at times dancing through the imagistic chaos. And the narrators: I imagine this is quite a different experience when performed with five readers. In the text, they are each noted by a different color of quotation marks and they switch at alarming rate. But what is truly interesting is how they overlap, so a word or a phrase is now said by two or three of the narrators at once — sometimes none at all. This is an interesting thing to recreate quietly in your head, but surely a rather powerful and different experience when performed live.

And the other out today is my review of Ben Spivey’s Black God.

Love that book. An excerpt:

In Black God, Spivey dives fully into the hallucinations and the surreality of existence without bothering to even leave footprints on the shore. And in this way, Black God is everything that Flowing in the Gossamer Fold never managed to be. Though quite short, it hides great depth and power and emotion. It takes you by the throat and drowns you in this world that may or may not be here, a world disintegrating and growing with every sentence. You get claustrophobic, holding close to Cooper, the aged narrator, clutching him close as time and memory and love refract and contract around him. And when you reach the end, you may not recognise how you got there or the lands you traveled, but you know it mattered from the marks imprinted on you.

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