There Is No Year
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There Is No Year

3.5 2
by Blake Butler
     
 

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A family of three: father, mother, son.

A house that gives them shelter but shapes their nightmares.

An illness that nearly arrested the past, and looms over the future.

A second family—a copy family. Mirror bodies.

Events on the horizon: a hole, a box, a light, a girl.

Holes in houses. Holes in speaking. Holes in flesh.

Memories that

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Overview

A family of three: father, mother, son.

A house that gives them shelter but shapes their nightmares.

An illness that nearly arrested the past, and looms over the future.

A second family—a copy family. Mirror bodies.

Events on the horizon: a hole, a box, a light, a girl.

Holes in houses. Holes in speaking. Holes in flesh.

Memories that deceive and figures that tempt and lure and withdraw.

There Is No Year is the astonishing new novel by Blake Butler.

It is a world of scare, a portrait of return, a fable of survival and the fierce burden of art.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Tucker Shaw
“There is no novel like There Is No Year.…Butler’s prose is persistent and perfected....His sense of humanity bleeds through the jagged edges, and by the end you’ve fallen for this nameless, deteriorating family, hoping it will survive.…Unexpectedly riveting, totally original, and frequently funny.”
Gina Angelotti
“[An] innovative masterpiece…a haunting glimpse into a parallel universe.”
Candra Kolodziej
“An acid burn of a lucid nightmare . . . accessible, rewarding, and engaging . . . There Is No Year can be hard as hell to read, but it’s also undeniably worth the effort.”
Dennis Cooper
“If there’s a more thoroughly brilliant and exciting new writer than Blake Butler, . . . well, there just isn’t. I’ve literally lost sleep imagining the fallout when There Is No Year drops and American fiction shifts its axis.”
Ben Marcus
“Blake Butler, mastermind and visionary, has sneaked up and drugged the American novel. What stumbles awake in the aftermath is feral and awesome in its power, a fairy tale of an ordinary family subjected to the strange, lonesome agony known as daily life.”
Globe & Mail (Toronto)
"If the distortion and feedback of Butler’s intense riffing is too loud, you may very well be too boring."
The Atlantan
“An entirely original work that does what the best art should do: challenge the reader.…Like a 4G version of fiction[,] a metaphor for our new digital age. And like the best of dreams, There Is No Year also sticks in the brain long after the book is set down.”
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“If the distortion and feedback of Butler’s intense riffing is too loud, you may very well be too boring.”
Nylon Magazine
“Dystopian and sinister. . . . In There Is No Year, Butler subverts our understanding of family relations, rendering domestic tragedy as both familiar and strange.”
Time Out New York
“A wild, poetic work.”
Time Out Chicago
“Butler’s sentences are frequently dizzying and poetic, and gathered in engrossing vignette-like sections.… A challenging, Dalí-esque spin on the horror genre, a postmodern playground …There Is No Year is also often funny and insightful, further proof of Butler’s impressive and innovative talents.”
New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
“Deeply honest and emotional, a family drama that by its end brings on feelings as complex and satisfying as those summoned by Faulkner’s simple sentence ‘They endured.’…This novel is a thing of such strange beauty [that it yields] the rewards that only well-made art can provide.”
(Editor's Choice) - New York Times Book Review
"Deeply honest and emotional, a family drama that by its end brings on feelings as complex and satisfying as those summoned by Faulkner’s simple sentence ‘They endured.’…This novel is a thing of such strange beauty [that it yields] the rewards that only well-made art can provide."
Library Journal
Butler (Scorch Atlas; Ever) keeps the reader guessing in his latest novel. A family moves into a house where another family lives—a lifeless, unseeing copy of the family. The family goes through individual psychological and paranormal experiences that make one wonder about the origins of the family's demise—Is it the son's carefully mentioned past disease? Some metaphysical demon in the son's subconscious? Or does the newly purchased house cloak discontented poltergeists? Whatever the cause, each family member endures a private psychological hell that is disturbing in its authenticity. VERDICT This artfully crafted, stunning piece of nontraditional literature is recommended for contemporary literature fans looking for something out of the ordinary. Butler integrates unusual elements into his novel, such as interview-style monologs and in later chapters poetry-like stanzas. Also recommended for students of literature, psychology, and philosophy, as the distinctive writing style and creative insight into the minds of one family deserve analysis. [Eight-city tour.]—Jennifer Funk, Southwestern Illinois Coll. Lib., Belleville
Kirkus Reviews

A family lives in a house in which strange things start to happen (or—it's a new novel by Blake Butler).

Love him, hate him or feign indifference: There's really no other way to react to the work of writer/postmodernist/multi-hyphenate Butler (Ever, 2009, etc). For those who like their prose fresh out of a cleaner and more traditional wellspring, Blake's writing can prove tedious at best and arduous at worst. But for those who lean toward writing that is more visceral, taxing or outright demanding of the reader, this might be the right cup of tea—see Mark Z. Danielewski'sHouse of Leaves(2000),to which this novelowes some debt. The book concerns a family of doppelgängers so featureless that Butler doesn't bother to give them names (or more accurately, likely purposefully washes them out to their elementary characteristics). So, the father, the mother and the son live in a house, just like the carbon copy father, mother and son had done before them. The father stares at a computer screen. The mother stares at her lined face in mirrors and thinks protective thoughts about her son, who suffers from a disease that nearly ended his life. The son goes to school, makes a friend and watches television with his family. It's all presented in hushed, monochrome language that gives the whole enterprise a sense of menace from the beginning, even before Butler introduces the father's paranoia that things in the house are changing without his knowledge. And then things do start changing.

A gruesome slice of familial oddity that demonstrates its author's versatility.

Joseph Salvatore
…underneath its surface challenges, There Is No Year turns out to be deeply honest and emotional, a family drama that by its end brings on feelings as complex and satisfying as those summoned by Faulkner's simple sentence "They endured"…This novel is a thing of such strange beauty that digging for answers of your own will yield the rewards that only well-made art can provide.
—The New York Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061997426
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

Tucker Shaw
“There is no novel like There Is No Year.…Butler’s prose is persistent and perfected....His sense of humanity bleeds through the jagged edges, and by the end you’ve fallen for this nameless, deteriorating family, hoping it will survive.…Unexpectedly riveting, totally original, and frequently funny.”
Dennis Cooper
“If there’s a more thoroughly brilliant and exciting new writer than Blake Butler, . . . well, there just isn’t. I’ve literally lost sleep imagining the fallout when There Is No Year drops and American fiction shifts its axis.”
Candra Kolodziej
“An acid burn of a lucid nightmare . . . accessible, rewarding, and engaging . . . There Is No Year can be hard as hell to read, but it’s also undeniably worth the effort.”
Gina Angelotti
“[An] innovative masterpiece…a haunting glimpse into a parallel universe.”
Ben Marcus
“Blake Butler, mastermind and visionary, has sneaked up and drugged the American novel. What stumbles awake in the aftermath is feral and awesome in its power, a fairy tale of an ordinary family subjected to the strange, lonesome agony known as daily life.”

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Meet the Author

Blake Butler is the author of five books of fiction, including There Is No Year and Scorch Atlas; a work of hybrid nonfiction, Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia; and two collaborative works, Anatomy Courses with Sean Kilpatrick and One with Vanessa Place and Christopher Higgs. He is the founding editor of HTMLGIANT, "the Internet literature magazine blog of the future," and maintains a weekly column covering literary art and fast food for Vice magazine. His other work has appeared widely, including in The Believer, the New York Times, Fence, Dazed and Confused, and The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade. He lives in Atlanta.

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There Is No Year 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blake Butler. What can I say about Mr. Butler ? For one, this book is amazing. It's a terrifying, traumatizing nightmare. But it's also a wonderful dream. I won't lie, this book is not for the light reader. Though it's fairly short, Butler's sentences twist & wind in such a way that make it damn near impossible to decipher. But that's the beauty of them. Butler's writing appears to be that of a psychotic. It's a haunting novel, for sure. One that will be deeply imprinted in your mind long after you put it down. But if it's too complex for you, then it is my greatest pleasure to inform you that you are too boring to read There Is No Year in the first place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago