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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, but odd, 4 May 2013
This review is from: The Age of Wire and String (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
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the strangest things you'll ever read...even if you read strange things, 24 Dec 2013
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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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The Age of Wire and String
The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus (Hardcover - 2 May 2013)
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