I just finished reading The Familiar, Vol 1 by Mark Z Danielewski.  You may remember him as the author of the quirky and scary House of Leaves, a book that I loved. The Familiar is even more Joycean, and takes a bit of dedication to understand the method of story telling involved. The book is puzzle-like and beautiful, and requires some concentration.

Steve W design

The main character is a little girl named Xanther whose father writes videogames. Xanther is precocious and asks questions incessantly. She wants a pet, and by the end of the book, gets one.


Some of the pages are dense with swirling text, others contain a single word or letter. A mystic couple who see images in a glass orb have an orb shape on their pages.


I don't know if I'm ready to commit to the projected 27 volumes of the Familiar, but I will give the next book a try this Fall.


Every main character has their own header color on their chapters, along with their own font and method of typesetting. This makes the complex story easier to piece together, as this entire 800+ page book takes place on a single day.