The Fifty Year Sword

The Fifty Year Sword

By (author) Mark Z Danielewski


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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.

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  • Hardback | 285 pages
  • 137.16 x 231.14 x 35.56mm | 657.71g
  • 16 Oct 2012
  • Pantheon Books
  • New York, NY
  • English
  • Reprint
  • colour illustrations
  • 0307907724
  • 9780307907721
  • 55,954

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Author Information

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."

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Review quote

"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 come together, joined by the slender threads of this one-of-a-kind narrative genius, a writer a lot closer to Edgar Allan Poe than he is to most of his contemporaries." --Alan Cheuse, "Dallas Morning News" "Danielewski echoes the oral tradition of ghost stories by employing the voices of five orphans to take turns narrating. . . . The writing itself occasionally hits on a detail disturbing enough to fall like freezing water down the reader's spine." --"Time Out New York" "I entered "The Fifty Year Sword" prepared to be bewildered, but . . . we're drawn into the narrative. . . . A goth hero's quest . . . a fairy tale narrated by a Greek chorus. . . . Mark Z. Danielewski might be America's most successful experimental fiction writer." --Daniel Handler, "The New York Times Book Review" "A swift, old-style ghost story with crisp, eerie illustrations. The text itself becomes blade cuts. The tale's momentum and dark tone take over, speeding the story to its surprise end. . . . "The Fifty Year Sword" is a pleasure to read." --"Chicago Tribune" "This strange novella is a new spin on Poe-esque ghost stories, and is being delivered in its new form full of beautiful (and sometimes beautifully grotesque) stitched illustrations, the colors of Halloween's season, and typography that actively follows what happens within the story. And so "Thee

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