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The Fifty-Year Sword [Hardcover]

Mark Z. Danielewski
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
Price: £16.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 April 2014
In this story set in East Texas, a local seamstress named Chintana finds herself responsible for five orphans who are not only captivated by a storyteller’s tale of vengeance but by the long black box he sets before them. As midnight approaches, the box is opened, a fateful dare is made, and the children as well as Chintana come face to face with the consequences of a malice retold and now foretold.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Fifty-Year Sword + Mark Z. Danielewski's the Whalestoe Letters + Only Revolutions
Price For All Three: £44.31

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Cargo Publishing (10 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908885998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908885999
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The Fifty Year Sword is a clever experiment in voice and structure, a prose poem consisting of cascading waves of dialogue spoken by five different narrators looking back on a single frightening night. . . . The joy of the book comes mostly from the physical act of turning the pages and scanning the layout, but the language deserves mention as well. In fact, some of the diction and words echo Lewis Carroll s Jabberwocky or James Joyce s Finnegans Wake, as separate words and phrases collide to make one and bits of words rearrange to form new ones. . . . A rare treat for devoted book lovers. --Boston Globe

This gorgeous trade edition . . . gives further evidence that Danielewski is one of the most gifted and versatile writers of our time. --Washington Post

A swift, old-style ghost story with crisp, eerie illustrations. The text itself becomes blade cuts. The tale s momentum and dark tone take over, speeding the story to its surprise end. . . . The Fifty Year Sword is a pleasure to read. --Chicago Tribune

From the Inside Flap

'Wat ik te vertellen heb,' begon hij langzaam, 'moet ik laten zien. Maar wat ik laat zien moet ik ook vertellen. Ik ben een slechte man met een heel zwart hart. En alleen die slechtheid en zwartheid dwongen me op te sporen wat ik nu al vele jaren meedraag en vanavond voor jullie heb meegebracht. Het zal jullie bang maken.' Dit was niet de manier waarop sprookjes voor vijf wezen meestal begonnen. Een ranch in Oost-Texas, een snijdend koude avond in oktober. Chintana, een naaister die net een smartelijke scheiding achter de rug heeft, bezoekt een Halloweenfeest. Die avond maakt een in schaduw geklede Verhalen Verteller zijn opwachting. Hij vertelt de vijf aanwezige weeskinderen over een onzegbare wraak, een aangrijpende zoektocht en een verschrikkelijk zwaard dat, zoals ze plotseling beseffen, voor hen ligt in een lange kist met zwarte hoeken en het curieuze opschrift 'H50JZ'. De kinderen begrijpen onmiddellijk dat zijn verhaal slechts de proloog tot een misdaad is, maar Chintana is degene die de confrontatie aan moet gaan met de bijzondere scherpte van het lemmet, dat van gevest tot punt immer zal klieven, al zijn de verschrikkingen volledig afhankelijk van tijd en onverschilligheid. Zoals hij eerder deed met Het kaartenhuis daagt Mark Z. Danielewski de lezer opnieuw uit met een briljant spookverhaal en een vernuftig spel van layout, kleur en perspectief. Het Vijftig Jaars Zwaard is een geestig, zonderling en inktzwart spookverhaal over een zwaard dat niemand zal vergeten. Voor lezers die houden van sprookjes, spookverhalen, Het Kaartenhuis en Kill Bill. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By K. Bear
This book was a pretty challenging but fascinating read. There are so many little things at work here, that I couldn’t help but stop reading in places to admire the care taken to not only show the text in an interesting way, but to also create a unique reading experience. I’m not sure if it’s new – something like this probably exists elsewhere – but I’m yet to read another book like this one.

I’ll admit something very geeky here, but after hearing Danielewski reading from the book in person (at the Cargo House party, Mono), I wanted to recreate that feeling of being told a story. After about 20 or so pages, I began to read the story aloud to myself, taking my time over the words, and utilising pauses where I felt the book suggested it. I actually scared myself a little – and this was on a sunny afternoon at the weekend, not the eeriest of settings. Every part of the text is encapsulated in one of five sets of speech marks, colour coded so you know who is speaking. I felt as though I was encouraged to speak the words aloud, as everything was represented as speech. It’s an embarrassing admission, but I’d recommend that everyone takes time to read this aloud to a friend or a loved one, or even just yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dans cool 13 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very dark.
Read it in half an hour.
Read it again
Darker still.
Strange book wish It had an explanation of some sort.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible! 5 Feb 2011
From the author of House of Leaves, this is an phenomenal book. It's totally unlike his others, but in a good way. There's 7 amazing pictures throughout the 100 page book. It's an odd shape, very long and thin. You could probably read it in a day, but you'd do it for the next week! A must buy.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing experimentation, but a little expensive 15 May 2009
By A. Davenport - Published on Amazon.com
I am biased towards much of MZD's work, though I am not a huge fan of *Only Revolutions,* because of the amazing impression that *House of Leaves* made upon me; so when I came across this title I was intrigued, but the price made me a little skeptical. After two years of debating, though, I shelled out the money, and I am not in the least disappointed.
The story is less experimental than some of MZD's other works, which some may find refreshing; but there is still an element of a raw-edge to the work. Characters are designated by small, colored apostrophes, and it is easy to forget who is speaking; creating one continuous narrative. The effect of this is mesmerizing and beautiful.
The one thing that is a slight issue is the price, and I would suggest looking around for good prices, the forum for *The Fifty Year Sword,* or T5YS as it is known among fans, at [...] is very helpful in this regard. The sellers at amazon, though, are always reliable and good people to go with. In the end I was happy with my purchase, because not only is the book undoubtedly worth it, but it is sure to become a sought after work in years to come.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MZD up to his usual tricks, a great (short) read 22 Nov 2012
By WEva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a great admirer of MZD's work, and T50YS is no exception. I actually tracked down an original 50pg copy from the Netherlands last year for quite a hefty sum, and am both disappointed and delighted that it is now widely available at such a low price. Don't let the number of pages fool you, it is exactly the same story, just reformatted to a lofty 298pgs with more artistic inserts and less words per page. It is no mater, the novela is just as powerful, filled with eccentric characters and an intricately woven plot that is so mysterious it will keep the reader coming back for 2nd and 3rd helpings. MZD is one of the few authors who is trying to expand the medium of literature while simultaneously interact and engage the reader. MZD reminds us that literature can be more than just words on a page.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Intriguing 5 Jan 2013
By Zach - Published on Amazon.com
I had the pleasure of seeing the author, MZD, read this live in its entirety. This experience was amazing and wholly engrossing. However, I now realize that the author's words and musical accompaniment only accentuated aspects of the text. Reading the book again--and the book is short enough to read in one sitting--makes me realize that nothing is lost and this is not a performance piece. This is a standalone story that is beautifully written, thought provoking, and extremely well-designed from a typographic perspective. Note that this is not at all like MZD's House of Leaves, but is just as good in very different ways.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling tale 16 April 2007
By Dawn - Published on Amazon.com
Let me start by saying, I am a huge MZD fan. When I heard abot TFYS I had to read it. The cost was a bit much though. Finally, I got this book for my birthday and I was the happiest girl around. When I sat down to read it, I realized this book isn't very long. There aren't many words per page. It is, an excellent story, I read the book in one sitting. In fact, I couldn't put it down. But, for the price, I expected a bit more. If you liked House of Leaves, then you should read it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Book may be great, but the Kindle edition is unreadable. 8 Nov 2013
By Christoph R Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is almost unreadable on Kindle. Buy it in a physical format or you will lose the best parts of Danielewski's style.
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