Privileged to have read the bound galleys of this, Mark Z. Danielewski ‘s magnum opus (eventually to be comprised of 27 volumes), The Familiar, to be published by Pantheon in May of next year, Volume II soon to follow in the Fall of 2015 (I’ve read drafts of the first 5 or 6 volumes, over 4000 pages thusfar).
Danielewski’s most popular work is House of Leaves, the only book I’ve ever bought that caused the normally stoic Barnes & Noble Lincoln Center staff to exclaim what a great book it was (I had also purchased a replacement copy of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which elicited no such comparable response, despite that being, til now, my favorite book of all time). That was followed by the similarly brilliant and equally sui generis prose poem/road novel of perpetual teen lovers, Only Revolutions. I’ve composed a score that will accompany that book’s e-version, hopefully coming out in the summer of 2015 (there are 90 chapters, each accompanied/summarized by my music; an extended piano solo of the first chapter streams below), and Mark and I toured his ghost story/compendium of stitchery-as-tale-spinning, The 50-Year Sword, for which I composed music and sound environment. THat book recently saw its e-version publication. I think it’s high time even his most devout fans come to know the greatness of all his work. One can only imagine the impact of The Familiar on all lovers of literature.
This is a novel for all time, of all time, of all things; as with all of Mark’s work, it is as much a work of art on paper, of textual constructs, of contextual and conceptual genius ne plus ultra; pre-and-post historic, extra-terrestrial and intellectual force majeure, music of the spheres, cacophony of cruelty, where data and instinct coincide and evince cosmic chamber music, protagonists and voices both human and inhuman. This is a work so all-encompassing and yet so personal as to make one weep. This is a work that will change all our lives, a book you will be blessed to read for the rest of your life.
The end pages include Lost Cats, one of whom (pictured) will be Familiar to friends of mine; there’s an inscription on the back page as well, of my own Elliott.