Sky Saw

Blake Butler, Author
Blake Butler. Tyrant (Consortium, dist.), $15 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-0-9850235-0-8
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 12/01/2012
Ebook - 263 pages - 978-0-9885183-1-5
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For the apocalyptically minded Butler, language isn’t employed simply to tell a story, but to register decay—and the prose of his latest novel is so meticulous, claustrophobic, and virtuosic that it’s almost painful to read. But it’s a pain that his fans, for whom Butler is the 21st-century answer to William S. Burroughs, have come to crave. In a nightmarish landscape of filthy, flickering rooms, unrelenting cameras, and writhing bodies under a hallucinatory sky, a supposedly omnipotent “Cone” holds sway over a mass of drones. Person 1180 gives birth to a large number of horrifying children she indoctrinates with a book of disappearing words, while sinister men sneak into her house at night. Her onetime husband, Person 811, awakens far from home and tries to find his way back through memory and rancid techno-biological detritus, while being pursued by a headless doppelgänger. But the details of Blake’s dystopia are more often suggested than stated and words are as likely to turn into birds, skin to rupture, the air to become liquid poison. Tidy paragraphs disassemble and all but ooze across the page, as Butler (Nothing) replicates the sensory experience of his mutating panorama at the sentence level. For readers willing to annihilate their boundaries, this is the ideal entry point. (Dec.)
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