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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only revolving
Mark Z. Danielewski stunned readers with his debut, "House of Leaves," a bizarre down-the-rabbit-hole tale of madness, surreality and a house where space is unending.

Now six years later, Danielewski has produced his follow-up -- the equally strange, scintillating road-trip novel "Only Revolutions." The format is mind-bending, the characters equally strange --...
Published on 13 Sep 2006 by E. A Solinas

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3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
The prose is beautiful, at times precise in its imagery, but at times verging on the neologism and nonsense. The form is tedious after a while, and you will have to read it again to understand the plot (and then again to remember it), not only this but the rotating gets really annoying. It was novel in House of Leaves because it was sparse, although I guess I should have...
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only revolving, 13 Sep 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Only Revolutions (Hardcover)
Mark Z. Danielewski stunned readers with his debut, "House of Leaves," a bizarre down-the-rabbit-hole tale of madness, surreality and a house where space is unending.

Now six years later, Danielewski has produced his follow-up -- the equally strange, scintillating road-trip novel "Only Revolutions." The format is mind-bending, the characters equally strange -- and Danielewski hasn't lost his touch for the compelling, poignant, the postmodern, and the post-weird.

Hailey and Sam are a pair of eternal teenagers, apparently untouched by time either physically or psychologically ("We're always sixteen!"). They careen through much of American history -- past and present -- in a changing fleet of cars, touching down in various important places and times.

But though they have no responsibilities, Hailey and Sam are not free of cares. As they run through the US, they seem to be enmeshed in the goings-on of wars, parties, exploration and social revolution (the Civil War). Will they escape the oppressive THEM pursuing them, or lose what is most important to them?

For a cult author, there's always a question about whether they can stay fresh and cutting-edge. Fortunately, Danielewski has outrun that particular concern. "Only Revolutions" is written in the same surreal freestyle as "House of Leaves," but the author never forgets to include the story as well.

And as the Escherian plot unwinds ("unfolds" just doesn't fit), it becomes obvious that this is actually two stories: a love story, and a sort of American allegory. They are rebels and free spirits, running up against bizarre characters -- like the multi-military Creep -- who seem symbolic of the nastier sides of our society. Hailey and Sam are the ones who represent the better side of the country.

Danielewski is still fascinated by places/people where time and space are warped. That includes the entire book -- every page. Each page has a scramble of quotes and text on its sides. There is vivid abstract poetry, blank pages (the future), geometric plotting, shrinking pages, mysterious side-notes submitted by Danielewski's fans...

... and oh yeah, you can flip the book upside down and read the two different "sides" of the story. One is Hailey, one is Sam. They are compared to legendary lovers like Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, but that's not too far off. Their love evolves as they do, and by the end they are more endearing if less vibrant than at the start of their story.

"Only Revolutions" is both a work of postmodern art and an endearing novel, and while it's hard work to follow Hailey and Sam to the end of their journey, it's worth the trip. Absolutely brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars goddam, 22 Jun 2011
This review is from: Only Revolutions (Hardcover)
i liked 'House Of Leaves' a lot, but goddam, this novel just blows everything else i've ever read out of the water. it's hard to talk about without spoiling bits of it, because most of the things in it i found to be amazing were things that develop through the novel, but goddam, the language is beyond almost anything else i've seen (joyce and burroughs maybe compare, and maybe shakespeare, but i seriously posit this author's proficiency to be at least as high as all three), and outside of that, i think, you'll just have to read the book. i understand it costs more than one would like to be jumping into mostly blind, but it's SO worth it, in my opinion. the novel, if you were previously unaware, takes the form of two narratives you read simultaneously, which, i was originally thinking, could go either way, but it really is used to its full potential, i think - if my anonymous opinion means anything to anyone, and you were unsure like me, i recommend just rolling with it, because i found it to be mind-blowingly good. all the reviews i read of the book, were, a little bit, incorrect (i realise the hypocrisy of writing such a thing in a review) and i was very nearly put off, but what they see as trite and lazy, i saw as utterly profound and resonant. the novel is less comparable with the author's other work than it is with a greek myth, or a tolkien-ish love story, because it's so elusive, and this is no accident of the author's, despite the opinions of some some critics i found, but rather it's the whole point; it adds a glorious mystique to the whole story - it's supposed to be something the reader doesn't entirely understand or grasp, and that's why it's worth reading about (i realise that sounds like an awful reason to buy this, but imagine, if you will, that it didn't, because i can only percieve that this novel would appeal to everyone, and i'd not want it overlooked because of my lack of ability to successfully sell it). a word, finally, about the biffy clyro album of the same name; not the same at all - if you wanted to read it because you thought it might be similar, may i just say, it's not. i understand the author and band are friends, and my opinion means nothing, but in terms of the casual reader, such as i was when i picked up the book, they're not alike in any realistic sense. i'm sorry if i come off as an ignorant teenager with nothing better to do than wax lyrical about an obscure piece of modern literature, but i'm really trying to export the powerful sense of beauty with which it left me.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A light read?, 13 Sep 2006
This review is from: Only Revolutions (Hardcover)
Readers who braved Danielewski's debut, the ludically labyrinthine House of Leaves, will find the author mapping similarly unfamiliar territory in his second novel. Danielewski has abandoned some of the more heavy-handed authorial games that weighted down his first novel, and this book has none of the dense intertextuality and inky digressiveness that covered so many pages there; but he has retained the spirit of playful inventiveness, and a careful attention to the potential of the printed form. Only Revolutions is an agile performance, a virtuoso display of the author's considerable writerly flair.

And it is the author's agility that impresses most. Constraints liberate, as every poet knows, and Danielewski here imposes on his writing an almost Oulipean set of constraints that generate a proliferation of words: puns, neologisms, rhymes, respond to one another in sing-song exchanges. Each chunk of text is composed of exactly 90 words, and the two opposing sides of the narrative ('Sam' and 'Hailey') sound each other out in a rolling mass of echoes, distortions and blends. Words waltz around one another, flirtatiously, as lovers sing amoebean exchanges, the one modulating to the tune of the other.

The prose skips along lightly, measuring out the numbers and nodding along to scattered rhymes. Sometimes the idiosyncrasies of style can seem enamoured of the sound of their own voice, but never quite to the point of obscurity.

Other aspects of the novel are less successful. The ticker of historical events covering two centuries, from 1863 on the one side (the putative beginning for Sam's narrative) and from 1963 on the other (where Hailey's story might take its starting point), makes up the numbers well enough, but the game is not really integrated into the reading experience.

The dos-a-dos format, with each of the two narratives printed on the flip-side of the other's page, means that the reader is compelled to read the two sides not in parallel lines but in antipodean arcs. The two sides give each other bias, rolling the narrative down the slope of a mountain, its impetus wheeling it along, around, and back up again. There are slight off-settings in the intricate patterns of parallelism, and teasing out their subtleties will often give pause to the attentive reader.

House of Leaves was something of a curate's egg; Only Revolutions is more accomplished, more writerly, and ultimately more satisfying.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, 2 May 2014
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This review is from: Only Revolutions (Hardcover)
The prose is beautiful, at times precise in its imagery, but at times verging on the neologism and nonsense. The form is tedious after a while, and you will have to read it again to understand the plot (and then again to remember it), not only this but the rotating gets really annoying. It was novel in House of Leaves because it was sparse, although I guess I should have known what I was getting into with a title like this...
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Clever clever not so clever, 28 Dec 2007
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This review is from: Only Revolutions (Hardcover)
I loved House of Leaves. I found its central premise of a house with a vast internal labyrinth of mystery to be dark and fascinating and the inventive style of twisting turning words on the page seemed to fit the dimensions and drive of the story.

And so to Only Revolutions... again the idea is full of promise but the execution is just nonsense. I understand that Danielewski made his name with House of Leaves but I think I am right in saying that those that loved it did not do so because of his departure from standard novel writing style? This story would have been far more interesting in its execution if it did not follow a wacky format just for the sake of it. Unreadable and a bit like the emperors new clothes... dissapointed.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's no House of Leaves, 25 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Only Revolutions (Hardcover)
I was expecting a lot from this, so I couldn't help being a little disappointed. It's worth reading for sure, but for me it didn't compare to House of Leaves. A few friends accused it of looking gimmicky, and to be honest I found it hard to defend. On the other hand, the binding is beautiful and I liked the inclusion of two different coloured ribbon bookmarks. Also the ending is very good and makes perseverance totally worthwhile!
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Delusion, 1 Jun 2009
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Baldi Matteo Domenico "braccobaldo" (Turin, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Only Revolutions (Hardcover)
Interesting book but nothing compared to House of Leaves. It's not a great book, it's confusing and sometimes pointless. Pity
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ITS IN GERMAN, 27 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Only Revolutions (Hardcover)
Note obvious when being or ordering this book however its arrived and is the german edition. Not of any use
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Only Revolutions
Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski (Hardcover - 2 Sep 2006)
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