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Only revolutions
Mark Z. Danielewski
Adult Fiction DANIELE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A pastiche of Joyce and Beckett, with heapings of Derrida's Glas and Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 thrown in for good measure, Danielewski's follow-up to House of Leaves is a similarly dizzying tour of the modernist and postmodernist heights and a similarly impressive tour de force. It comprises two monologues, one by Sam and one by Hailey, both "Allmighty sixteen and freeeeee," each narrating the same road trip, or set of neo-globo-revolutionary events or a revolution's end: "Everyone loves the Dream but I kill it." Figuring out what's happening is a big part of reading the book. The verse-riffs narrations, endlessly alliterative and punning (like Joyce) and playfully, bleakly existential (like Beckett), begin at opposite ends of the book, upside down from one another, with each page divided and shared. Each gets 180 words per page, but in type that gets smaller as they get closer to their ends (Glas was more haphazard), so they each gets exactly half a page only at the midway point of the book: page 180 or half of a revolution of 360 degrees. A time line of world events, from November 22, 1863 ("the abolition of slavery"), to January 19, 2063 (blank, like everything from January 18, 2006, on), runs down the side of every page. The page numbers, when riffled flip-book style, revolve. The book's design is a marvel, and as a feat of Pynchonesque puzzlebookdom, it's magnificent. The book's difficulty, though, carries a self-consciousness that Joyce & Co. decidedly lack, and the jury will be out on whether the tricks are of the for-art's-sake variety or more like a terrific video game. (Sept. 5) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Sam and Hailey are perpetual 16 year olds, madly in love and on the lam from 1863 to 2063 in a constantly changing array of conveyances, from a mule to Sumover Linx. Sam tells the first 100 years, while Hailey simultaneously relates the second in alternating chapters with exactly 180 words of story and a parallel 180 words of news and sports headlines per page. This is ironic, as the young couple seems entirely aware of each other and of little else in their almost endless pursuit of love and liberty. Doubly ironic, the author seems to have little to say about love and liberty, arguably two of the most important themes in American literature. Danielewski's House of Leaves was a diamond of a book with a great story and dozens of brilliantly burnished facets. Only Revolutions is every bit as polished, but the relative lack of depth makes it more like cubic zirconium-more style than substance. (This review is exactly 180 words, too. So what?) Still, a fascinating read; recommended for medium to large academic and public libraries.-Jim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Sam
Age: 16
Goes on a road trip with Hailey.

Age: 16
Goes on a road trip with Sam.

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