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The Boston Globe


Book Review

‘The Fifty Year Sword’ by Mark Z. Danielewski

Of the handful of so-called experimental fiction writers of the past 20 years, few have become more recognizable — and controversial — than the late David Foster Wallace and Mark Z. Danielewski. While Wallace made extensive use of footnotes to layer and enrich his storytelling, Danielewksi, no stranger to footnotes himself, has consistently pushed the boundaries even further.

In his cult classic “House of Leaves,’’ the author circumvented conventions of linear narrative and made masterful use of stories-within-stories, fractured, even physically swirling typesetting and a nesting-doll structure that continuously twisted reader expectations. Danielewski upped the ante with “Only Revolutions,’’ a somewhat conventional love story rendered anything but by the labyrinthine, colored text in which one protagonist’s narration began at the front of the book and the other’s at the back (and upside down).

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