Title: Only Revolutions
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Hardback: 384 pages
Publisher: Pantheon (September 2006)
Amazon: Instant Look Up
About the Book:
The story alternates between two different narratives: Sam and Hailey, and Hailey and Sam, wild and wayward teenagers who never grow old. With an evolving stable of cars, the teenagers move through various places and moments in time as they try to outrace History.
††††††††††† Mark Z. Danielewskiís House of Leaves sticks with me to this day.† When I learned that he had a new novel in the works, I counted down the days till its release.† The moment it hit the shelves I was there, eagerly scooping it up and giving it a once-over.† The last thing on my mind was that I wouldnít go home with a copy of Only Revolutions in my bag.† But after one trip through its pages, thatís exactly what happened.
††††††††††† Oh, it came home eventually.† The allure of House of Leaves, the book that didnít look enjoyable but utterly captivated me, kept bringing me back to the possibilities of the same in its successor.† Danielewski had buried treasures before, and there was no less of a possibility that it was here, as well.†
††††††††††† I wouldnít say that the treasure isnít here.† Itís just that itís so well concealed this time around that it remains beyond my grasp.† In desperation, I turned to the internet, even a podcast in which the author spoke regarding his work.† Every time, though, I learned more about the structure of Only Revolutions, nothing more about the characters or the hidden depths of the plot itself.† That, according to Danielewski, is for the reader to bring to the page himself.
††††††††††† Likewise, the reader must determine how to read the book for himself.† Two separate novels run counter to one another along the tops and bottoms of the pages, and they can be read simultaneously in bite-sized portions or individually, one following the other.† The relationship of these two stories is the subject of incredible mathematical precision, from the 360 words on each page, to precise divisions between Samís portion of each page and Haileyís.†
††††††††††† Structurally, this novel is a work of art.† Its exacting nature defies the reader to puzzle out its mysteries, but these are not mysteries of the plot so much as mysteries of its creation.† From the diction of the eras to the freedom of made-up words, Danielewski places every word just where it needs to go.† In doing so, he loses much of the accessibility of House of Leaves, and generates little of the full-fledged character of that novel.† What remains is a technical masterpiece that suffers on a personal level.† Iím finished with it.