“The Fifty Year Sword” by Mark Z. Danielewski (Pantheon, 2012)

Fifty Year Sword

From the bestselling author of House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski presents a chilling Halloween story as told third hand through characters in their own specific way with special language and diction.  The Fifty Year Sword is a relatively quick read featuring a story that leaves a lasting impression.

Chintana is a local seamstress who finds herself at a party where her nemesis is about to enjoy her birthday at the strike of midnight.  Not hoping for much, she enjoys a drink and before she knows it, finds herself in charge of five young orphans.  Unsure what to do with them, she finds a surprising answer when a stranger arrives with a very special story to tell, one about a long journey to a creator of swords, swords named for the ages in how they work.  It is a story that captivates the orphans, as well as Chintana, reaching a climax with the big black box and what resides within it.

The Fifty Year Sword, like Danielewski’s other works, employs a unique form of storytelling and book design, featuring words on the left page, and ornate needlework and cotton and wool swirling on the facing page, making designs and patterns, occasionally linking with the story.  While the idea is an interesting one, the overall effort comes off as over exaggerated and at times unnecessary.  Danielewski’s use of language, however, is an enjoying read, as he uses the language and vocabulary of his seamstress to weave and captivating tale.

Originally written on November 10, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Fifty Year Sword from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.