Rafael Lewis, February 10, 2014 (view all comments by Rafael Lewis)
For me, Only Revolutions was a revelation. It's format is non standard (a device that the author likes to explore in his work), and it can be read in a few different ways. I think the publisher suggests reading 8 pages, flipping the book and reading another 8, and then repeat.
Any thoughts about gimmickry dissolve as you become drawn into the work, and the format isn't the center piece. I see it as a way to get you to read the book differently than you've ever read a book before. And this book is not like any book you've read before.
The prose is very poetic and lyrical, sometimes presenting you with words that don't exist, yet strangely make some sort of sense within the world of the book. The story, while sometimes hard to follow in a linear "this happens that happens" sense, is beautiful, and feels timeless. I think it's more meant to be felt than intellectualized, and for me it was very emotionally impactful.
The book also seems to work its way into your day to day life when you are reading it. Rhymes jump out of mundane texts, patterns present themselves, and poetry seems be hiding in everything you read.
I can imagine this to be a frustrating experience if you go into the book expecting something conventional. If you've read House of Leaves, know this will be nothing like it.
But for those that are open to something new, a strange and beautiful thing waits for you in the pages. If you're anything like me, you may find an experience that you'll never forget.
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A pastiche of Joyce and Beckett, with heapings of Derrida's "Glas" and Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49" thrown in for good measure, Danielewski's follow-up to "House of Leaves" is a similarly dizzying tour of the modernist and postmodernist heights--and a similarly impressive tour de force.
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