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.
About Mark Z. Danielewski
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.
Chintana is in a bad mood. A talented seamstress, she’s just been divorced, “forced/to acknowledge,/yet again,/to yet/another insitrusive customer,/her husband Pravat’s surprising/departure.” The odd portmanteau “insitrusive,” apparently a blend of “insistent” and “intrusive,” is emblematic; Danielewski likes nothing better than to make up words, with some coinages better than others. (The world flat-out does not need the verb “reconsiderate.”) The odd hiccup-y breaks and caesuras also attest to Danielewski’s method, which is to break what ought to be prose down into a sort-of-poetry—not terribly good poetry, that, and oddly punctuated, but still inhibiting a reader tempted to skim and speed. Chintana is stuck in East Texas, that grim place of horrors, her time spent in a house that has had more than one spectral guest in the past. Here, as with House of Leaves, Danielewski distinguishes speakers with quotation marks of different colors; even there, the jumble of words, matched by fugitive images, lends itself to a certain confusion, the printed effect of listening too closely to the dialogue of Robert Altman’s Popeye. The story, as it is, has its charms, including the implement of the title, a very dangerous weapon that is powerless to produce a visible wound until its recipient turns 50: “Just as/quickly too he slid behind/me and I/felt a sting between/my shoulder blades/and then a fire and a cold and a sudden/something/seep of hurt.” The spectral events and unspectral revelations that follow are sure not to improve Chintana’s mood. After all, she’s already feeling “desacreated.” – Kirkus Reviews
Cut to the Quick - ‘The Fifty Year Sword,’ by Mark Z. Danielewski
The New York Times Book Review – October 26, 2012 (Excerpt)
Mark Z. Danielewski might be America’s most successful experimental fiction writer, which is a bit like being the world’s tallest dwarf. It’s not right to say that experimental fiction has been ghettoized — few ghettos are so elegantly art-directed — but its profile is as low as it is oddly shaped. The occasional experimental writer may get a small shimmer of publicity (David Markson, nice to have you aboard), but for the most part our weirdo formalists, our oddball language players, our “and this chapter you have to read upside down” acrobats are relegated to near invisibility.
One sees Danielewski, however, all over the place. His novel “Only Revolutions” was a National Book Award finalist in 2006, and its predecessor, “House of Leaves,” has managed the more impressive feat of hopscotching past critical acclaim into the hands of actual readers. There aren’t too many first novels published in 2000 that you can still find in airport bookstores, let alone ones chock-full of textual trickery, but “House of Leaves” remains a piece of experimental fiction that is read as much as it is appreciated. [Read the full article...]
CRIMSON DAWN Book One of the Darklife Saga by Ronnie Massey
Two Women Hunting A Rogue Vampire
Vampire Valeria Trumaine must confront old demons and face new possibilities as she struggles to bring a rogue vampire to justice. Her best friend and powerful Sidhe princess, Irulan, joins the hunt. Valeria will find that Irulan’s motives for keeping her safe are not what she thinks. And soon she is faced with an undeniable attraction that makes her question everything she knew about herself. [Read More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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