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Why We Read Novels

Why We Read Novels LINDSAY THOMAS ark Z. Danielewski's One Rainy Day in May is epic--audaciously so. For starters, the nearly ninehundred-page novel is the first of a planned twenty-seven-volume series, The Familiar, that Danielewski and Pantheon are betting we will want to devote hours upon hours to reading. Like Danielewski's previous works--House of Leaves (2000), Only Revolutions (2006), and The Fifty Year Sword (2005, 2012)--it is also the subject of an official online discussion forum to which the publisher hopes we will want to devote hours upon hours. Danielewski has been quite successful in using discussion forums to showcase how his writing is designed to reward sustained attention and obsessive reading and rereading. Should we want to devote all of this time to reading, rereading, and discussing this series? The risk Danielewski is taking with The Familiar is that readers won't want to stick with it. One epic novel is fine, even interesting, but twenty-seven? What's at stake in the series' epic pretensions is the question of why we read novels at all. Because what's truly audacious about The Familiar is that if the rest of the series is anything like One Rainy Day in May, we will want to read http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949
Publisher site
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Abstract

LINDSAY THOMAS ark Z. Danielewski's One Rainy Day in May is epic--audaciously so. For starters, the nearly ninehundred-page novel is the first of a planned twenty-seven-volume series, The Familiar, that Danielewski and Pantheon are betting we will want to devote hours upon hours to reading. Like Danielewski's previous works--House of Leaves (2000), Only Revolutions (2006), and The Fifty Year Sword (2005, 2012)--it is also the subject of an official online discussion forum to which the publisher hopes we will want to devote hours upon hours. Danielewski has been quite successful in using discussion forums to showcase how his writing is designed to reward sustained attention and obsessive reading and rereading. Should we want to devote all of this time to reading, rereading, and discussing this series? The risk Danielewski is taking with The Familiar is that readers won't want to stick with it. One epic novel is fine, even interesting, but twenty-seven? What's at stake in the series' epic pretensions is the question of why we read novels at all. Because what's truly audacious about The Familiar is that if the rest of the series is anything like One Rainy Day in May, we will want to read

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Sep 1, 2015

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