Thursday, September 07, 2006

keep post-its and patience handy

The LA Times gets in an early review of Mark Z. Danielewski's new novel, Only Revolutions.

Is it gimmicky and self-important? Undeniably. Is it a substitute for good, clean writing and a well-crafted story? No. But "Only Revolutions" is not without sweeping ambition and fierce intelligence. A phenomenon shot through with the cool factor, it succeeds as an experiment in both design and book publishing. As literature, however, it's cryptic to the point of paralysis, utterly inaccessible, almost burdensome. James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" was linguistically playful, David Foster Wallace's books are admittedly difficult, Shelley Jackson's "Skin" doesn't even exist in any one printed place — but it's possible to unearth beauty, pathos, insight and substance in these works. The opacity of "Only Revolutions" may be its biggest flaw: If no one beyond a small, marginalized fan base is going to reach the end, then what's the point?

Danielewski will be at Skylight Books on Saturday, September 16.