There Is No Year

Blake Butler, Author
Blake Butler, Harper Perennial, $14.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-199742-6
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 04/01/2011
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-06-208732-4
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Butler's inventive third book is dedicated "For no one" and begins with an eerie prologue about the saturation of the world with a damaging light. Suitably forewarned, the reader is introduced to an unexceptional no-name family. All should be idyllic in their newly purchased home, but they are shadowed by an unwelcome "copy family." In the face of the copy mother, the mother sees her heretofore unrealized deterioration. Things only get worse as the father forgets how to get home from work; the mother starts hiding in the closet, plagued by an omnipresent egg; while the son gets a female "special friend" and receives a mysterious package containing photos of dead celebrities. The territory of domestic disillusion and postmodern dystopia is familiar from other tales, but Butler's an endlessly surprising, funny, and subversive writer. This subversion extends to the book's design: very short titled chapters with an abundance of white space. Not so much a novel as a literary tapestry, the book's eight parts are separated by blank gray pages. To Butler (Scorch Atlas), everything in the world, even the physical world, is gray and ever-changing, and potentially menacing. (Apr.)
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