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The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski
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The Fifty Year Sword (original 2005; edition 2012)

by Mark Z. Danielewski

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3172235,016 (3.55)18
Member:devilwrites
Title:The Fifty Year Sword
Authors:Mark Z. Danielewski
Info:Pantheon (2012), Edition: Reprint, Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Greg's Library
Rating:****
Tags:mark z. danielewski, poetry, fantasy, read: gaw, read: ssw

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The Fifty Year Sword by Mark Z. Danielewski (2005)

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
At times the whole colored quotations thing slipped me up. And i admit that i could not really tell the difference one who was telling the story or what was meant by it. Noticeably one character had poor grammar and was always misspelling words etc. I did pick up on a few things as the quotes related to the 5 orphans in the story, each of the 5 candles was a certain scent and that scent more of less matched the color of quotation.

The illustration design was helpful and complemented the story quite well, even though it did balloon the story up to a hefty 288 pages. At one point the book needed to be turned sideways as the text was put in vertical on those 5 pages, but all in all, it helped the story.

The actual story, as best as I could gather, was quite interesting...the story told by the Story Teller that is...the bits leading up to the party and the teller were not all that interesting. However, the story ended in a smart twist and the design on the boards of the book make much more sense after reading the story.

Review of physical edition of The Fifty Year Sword at Awfulbooks.com



( )
  T4NK | Sep 30, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this. Not only is it fun to read, the author does what he does best with his unique writing style. This reads like poetry and is mixed with the back of cross stitching making it literary art. I can see why many people would be frustrated reading this, but knowing ahead of time the unconventional writing style made it quite enjoyable for me. Now i just need the time to tackle the rest of his other book "House of Leaves", but i think that will have to wait for my next time off work. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
The Fifty Year Sword is a ghost story that is, thankfully, a much easier read than Only Revolutions. Like all of MZD's books, it's done very artfully and unusually, but it's also very, very readable. I loved the lyrical language and the way the story is told by five different narrators in a seamless way (the five narrators being the five orphans, surely? but that's never revealed). The main character is a seamstress and the art is all done in embroidery, and those two facts also tie into one of the themes of the stories. Like both House of Leaves and Only Revolutions, this book is An Experience and it is best read by setting aside a quiet evening to take it all in. ( )
  BrookeAshley | Jun 23, 2014 |
Haunting. ( )
  outlandishlit | Jun 9, 2014 |
Really more a concept than an actual story/book, Mark Z. Danielewski's The Fifty Year Sword is a horror story, of sorts. The story is told from the point of view of five children, in one long stream of conscious dialogue, with the only distinction about which child is speaking made through the color of the quotation marks set around each sentence. It almost reads as one large, run-on paragraph, so it would seem that the children almost speak in a collective, each continuing the sentence from the previous speaker. I gave up fairly quickly trying to determine who was speaking and just read through the story as if it were being told from just one person.

The story, as it were, is simple enough (and is really nothing more than a glorified short story drawn out into a 280+ page book). The five children are at a Halloween party when a stranger arrives carrying a long black box. The story the stranger tells is of the Fifty Year Sword, and his journey to acquire it. What follows is a display of the power of the sword, much to the dismay of one of the party goers. And that's it. The story the stranger tells is vaguely atmospheric, but the ending is reasonably predictable given the outcome of the strangers journey and his story.

About the length of the book. As I stated earlier, it's a glorified short story, and all the text in the book is presented on the left-hand page only. If there is some significance to this placement, it went above my head. I'd be willing to bet there aren't more than 40 words per page, and pages with that much text are few and far between. This was released as an ebook as well, and I think that the ebook had animated graphics and music accompanying it, so I think this was meant to be viewed on an ereader as opposed to something actually physically published. The story has also been performed lived, on Halloween, as a shadow show, and I have a feeling this is where the true impact of the story would be felt, but presented in this static, printed format, the story falls short.

I don't think I'd actually recommend this book to anyone except those that enjoy uniquely published works that have physical distinction that sets them apart from other physical books, which is the only reason I'm keeping this in my library. ( )
  tapestry100 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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"The nationally best-selling author of House of Leaves and Only Revolutions has crafted a powerfully chilling novella--a ghost story for grownup readers. Late one evening at a party at an East Texas ranch house, five orphans gather to hear a story about a quest for a terrible weapon. Before them lies a long black box with five latches. As the owner of the box settles into a curious tale of revenge, the children grow more and more captivated, even as we grow more and more afraid that a new crime may await them all, especially as clocks in Upshur County approach midnight"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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