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The Age of Wire and String Hardcover – 2 May 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Granta (2 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847086381
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847086389
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Near-genius ... This will become a collectors' edition: love it. --Monocle

Marcus's debut is a brain-rattling collection of experimental fictions... out of its mind on its own batshit surreality. Marcus found a way to make his words feel supremely weird in the reader's mouth, effecting a mental scrambling that is oddly rewarding and even occasionally funny. --Stuart Hammond's 'Book of the Month', Dazed and Confused

About the Author

Ben Marcus is the author of Notable American Women, The Father Costume, The Age of Wire and String and The Flame Alphabet. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times, and McSweeney's. Marcus has received a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction, and three Pushcart Prizes. Marcus is an associate professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By PMac on 4 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
This new edition of Ben Marcus's 'stories', originally published in 1995, is a useful addition to the rather short list of fully realised pataphysical works. It is one of the oddest books I've ever read, appearing to be a handbook for survival - or a list of rules - in a world almost entirely unlike our own, but described in the same words.
It is relentlessly downbeat, describing the travails of survival in an apparently hostile environment (although there is no indication that this is some post-apocalyptic dystopia). It is only in the very final paragraph that there is any glimmer of optimism.
The one thing it does remind me of is the stories that are told around the table during Jewish feast days, and the various rules for dress, behaviour and dining that fundamentalists of many religions repeat to themselves during prayer and remembrance. As a non-believer, the book makes no less sense than do the belief systems of established religions.
Don't be put off. It is easy to get through, even if it makes little sense to our world. A few felicitous phrasings made me chuckle. And the illustrations are entirely appropriate to the work, adding to the feeling of otherness.
And it did make me want to write this review, which I don't often do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jw1951 on 24 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is definitely "new weird" with a vengeance. It's a series of short stories, a page or two each mostly, describing, in almost documentary terms, a strange universe, queerly reminiscent of our own, yet startlingly different. There's a glossary after most of the stories, telling you what all the new terms mean, although the definitions are as odd as the stories themselves. It's intermixed with drawings and pictures, of imaginary objects for the most part. Strange is the word, but on Kindle it's so cheap that you should buy it just to have a look for yourself. Many readers will hate it, but it's cost you just over a pound to get a glimpse into this peculiar universe, so don't hesitate. Get your friends to read it, then get together to try and work out what it all means. It's a bit Jeff Vandermeer-ish (albeit odder), although this predates Vandermeer's recent stuff. Marcus has written other bizarre books, like Flame Alphabet (which I'm reading at the moment), also very peculiar, and also available for a few quid on Kindle.
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