The Fifty Year Sword - Mark Z. Danielewski Well, I got my cup of coffee & read this in one sitting. My initial thoughts....

It reads very well as a piece of ongoing modern poetry. (I don't even consider myself a fan of poetry.) At first, I wondered if I should try to read each color quote as a separate thread, but quickly discarded that notion. I didn't really try to keep the different 'speakers' straight, rather read it straight-through as voices interweaving. I enjoyed Danielewski's word-play too -- sometimes giving a lighter edge, sometimes giving a more sinister edge.... The fact that different overlapping speakers told the increasingly spooky story made me think of the chorus of witches that Shakespeare employed to great effect. As such, I think this would be great to see/hear as a performance.

I liked the use of white space (& black space), along w/ the embroidery photos. Even all the pinholes in the cover added to the multidimensional feel of this work as more than just writing; as I saw it mentioned somewhere, it is performance art/multimedia.

The story itself was engrossing, especially through the beginning and middle, but I felt that the ending was a bit anti-climatic. A tale of revenge? Redemption? Hatred? Forgiveness? Shattered illusions?

Interesting piece worth reading.

Wish I could have seen this performance of it:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2010/11/mark-z-danielewskis-halloween-party.html

3.5 to 4 stars.