Author(s): Mark Z. Danielewski
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.
""The Fifty Year Sword" is a clever experiment in voice and structure, a prose poem consisting of cascading waves of dialogue spoken by five different narrators looking back on a single frightening night. . . . The joy of the book comes mostly from the physical act of turning the pages and scanning the layout, but the language deserves mention as well. In fact, some of the diction and words echo Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" or James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake," as separate words and phrases collide to make one and bits of words rearrange to form new ones. . . . A rare treat for devoted book lovers."
--"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
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."