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EVER

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  279 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Fiction. "Within the psychic architecture that is EVER, Blake Butler explores the way bodies swell and contract, going from skin to house and back again. And the way houses too shrink to fit us first like clothing and then like skin and then tighter still. The result is a strange, visionary ontological dismemberment that takes you well beyond what you'd ever expect"--Brian ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published January 14th 2009 by Calamari Press
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Amelia
Jun 12, 2009 Amelia rated it it was amazing
Though it doesn’t exactly suit the book, I have to think about EVER in terms of plot, character, and (I know, I know) author biography. Talking about it any other way would require the use of color fields and degenerating tones, though, and that shit does not translate to the blogosphere.

Blake’s booknotes offer hints to EVER, which otherwise stands un-annotated as a series of rooms folding in on itself, a girl folding into rooms and finding rooms. Apparently he wrote it after the Atlanta tornado
...more
John
Jun 01, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers who like a bent meditation, a spacey claustrophobia, & incomprehensible stimulation
Recommended to John by: Dan Wickett, I think
Blake Butler brings off sentences that at once estrange & seduce, their phrasing & pacing like some 21st-Century resurrection of the Middle English, constructed w/ an ear to assonance & buried rhymes. From the second page of EVER: "In the light my skin was see-through -- my veins an atlas spanned in tissue." Not much later, more pugnaciously: "Streams of night might gleam like glass. The dirt would swim with foam." Appreciation of this small, scary miracle depends on appreciation of ...more
Eugene
Feb 25, 2009 Eugene rated it really liked it
like johannes görannson’s DEAR RA, blake butler’s eerie EVER’s a howl — a generational cri de coeur, but instead of the anthemic us-ness there’s left now only solitary i’s peeping sometimes wildly sometimes mutely about. and replacing the ruined reputed best minds of the last boom are self-alienated observers of the intractable and indomitable structures, which serve only to reinforce their own alienation.

[At first our local leaders tried to zone around the madness, to block off damaged sects wi
...more
Sabra Embury
Apr 16, 2009 Sabra Embury rated it it was amazing

It took me four sittings on a NY subway daily work commute to start and finish Blake Butler's "Ever." Twice was in the AM before coffee. The other twice was at night.

It engaged me as it would others whose fantasies are filled with melting solar floaty cars, evil cyborg love-bots, and paranoia--in the mess of all the questions in it, and its rich ambiguous superfunk hell-ride.

If there exists a dark part trying to hide in the depths of the reader of "Ever," the dark part will come out to roll aro
...more
Alan
Apr 12, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alan by: John
Shelves: novels, read-in-2012
4 or 5 stars? Not sure but this book is one of the strangest I've ever read, and needles and unsettles you... more later.
..I'm still not sure what to say about this book but I am carrying it around with me and sneaking little reads when I can (eg in the pub when Clare goes to the loo), and am puzzled but hooked. Jolted too, and feel a bit trapped by the prose in the same way the protagonist is trapped in her various rooms..

Soemthing apocalyptic has happened, everything burns and melts or disappe
...more
Kevin
Feb 05, 2009 Kevin rated it really liked it
Ever seems like a sort of post-apocalyptic tale. Imagine if Cormac McCarthy's The Road was narrated by a female character who couldn't leave her house. It took me a bit to get used to Butler's gritty (and sometimes strained) abstractions but by the midway point of this novella it really takes off--thank goodness for the well-timed character development. I also liked that the prose is framed by hard brackets (not even given the softness of parentheses) throughout the book, further painting a pict ...more
Jasmine
Sep 25, 2011 Jasmine rated it really liked it
Shelves: american
This book I would say is the precursor to there is no year, I think it's a good book to read as an introduction to blake because it's a shorter version of the much longer book. I like it, it's a little more complicated and confusing (I'd say there is no year was making pretensions to the mainstream harpercollins did publish it after all)

highly recommended
mike
Jul 17, 2009 mike rated it really liked it
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the book is its attempt to carve an idiom out of the language for the narrator’s voice; an idiom composed of reworked syntax, dominant with consonant, onomatopoeic diction. In the narrator’s voice, this idiom comes alive in the way the words seem rightly awkward, stumbling against one another, a voice struggling with an unmastered language that as text becomes language masterfully expressed. The text is aware of itself as a text, and there are a couple awkward ...more
David
Feb 20, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
I read most of Blake Butler’s EVER during a long wait at a dentist’s office. Blake Butler and a building full of brutish torture devices go well together in some strange way. The disconcertion of empty, repetitious conversations swirling around me; the greenishly tinted television looping infomercial-like gleaming vapidity for veneers or something of the like; the hyper awareness to everything, including occasional peeks and glances by strangers at the pages as I read, themselves filled with str ...more
Emily
Sep 14, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it
My favorite line: [One book opened me instead.:]

This book is hard to explain. As the brackets so prevalent in the text suggest, there many levels upon which to interpret it. Is the house literal, the character agoraphobic, and the lack of a world outside of it suggests something post-apocalyptic? Or is the house a metaphor for any number of other things: the house as body, with many layers and complexities inside it? The house as boundary between reality and the metaphysical, suggesting an apoc
...more
Andy
Mar 15, 2010 Andy rated it it was amazing
Ever is a bit hard to pin a label on regarding genre; novella?, prose poem sequence?, flash fiction cycle?... But that very elusiveness reflects a pushing outward of the boundaries of what the most innovative writers are currently doing with language in the service of artistic expression. As with Gary Lutz, Butler's fiction absorbs our attention by continually amazing us with the way it beautifully dances close to the edge of incoherence without falling in. There's excitement and wonder in that ...more
Derek
Jan 09, 2009 Derek rated it it was amazing
here's what I learned illustrating/publishing the book (includes book trailer):
http://5cense.com/ever_swag.htm
Ani Smith
Jan 29, 2009 Ani Smith rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul
Aug 03, 2015 Paul rated it it was ok
/In one room, two...//floral stain shifts, blue feeling ooze bladder, arms, felted gloss in gluey lips smatter.// between rocky windows slid in parallel shiftless rows, secret compartments where fetid flesh, harnessed in grey dittle dattle, arose me wakened, slight in febril mind smears/// caustic canary, veiled, lateral damaged, eye grease, fecal knowing ushered between steal, razor-walled nowheres.////

This is pretty much what this whole book felt like to me. I appreciate the positive reviews o
...more
Adam
Mar 17, 2009 Adam rated it it was amazing
I've read a little of this guy's stuff before and thought, cool, it's messed up, he knows what he's doing, he knows how to subvert plot points to eventually develop something that is more interesting -- he sees beyond the story to the Beyond in the story -- but this book, this book EVER, in EVER -- I don't know if it's the length or if he just tilted the plank farther, because this book is beyond even meaning, everything is questioned, no story no story but so many fascinating elements of story, ...more
Gabriel
Apr 08, 2009 Gabriel rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gabriel by: Matthew Simmons
The narrator is becoming... what? Becoming the room that surrounds her, but also more fully inhabiting and filling her own distending skin, sagging into each crease and fold to fill and push and distend again, growing like a tumor. Hence, perhaps, "EVER."

I was reminded, then, of the Metamorphoses, if, instead of character, it was the language that was melting and changing. The language is what fills and sags and distends, rushing in to fill each space with an unexpected torrent, expanding the bo
...more
Downward
Apr 10, 2013 Downward rated it liked it
this is like a friend recounting a very lucid dream or hallucination, complete with the nested asides that tend to dominate the story rather than distract from it. plot-wise I'm not terribly sure what's going on at any given moment: there is a girl, and she is moving through the rooms of a house that is haunted by decay. She describes inngreat detail all she sees with her own peculiar and idiomatic manner. large chunks of this book should be read out loud, as the sounds and rythmn is worth the p ...more
Jonny Ross
Jan 04, 2010 Jonny Ross rated it it was amazing
read this at the vancouver airport while listening to cluster on a cheap mp3 player and waiting for a connecting flight. surprisingly accesible language for an experimental, anti-narrative novel(la) with no other characters other than the female(?) narrator moving through different rooms of a house that slowly consumes-engulfs-integrates her within it's structure. a mind-fuck, yes, full of creeping dark and white-stabbing light, but well worth the effort. purposeful madness. sentences that sizzl ...more
Michael
Jul 31, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing
I bought a couple of Butler's books, in fact I believe the only two that are widely available, after hearing somewhere that they were akin to the films of David Lynch. That's not an inaccurate analogy. Eerie, nearly plotless, viscerally psychological, this novella is enthralling. It's accompanied by visual art by Derek White, which I really like, but am not qualified to assess with any authority.
Sharon
Nov 10, 2014 Sharon rated it it was ok
[revised, because my original review was too mean]

The initial conceit of playing with sentence structure and punctuation [[[quickly lost its novelty]]]

[as did the prose which was trying [[[[[so hard]]]]] to be weird.]

I don't like to abandon books without finishing them, so I made myself read this thankfully [very short] book
[in one sitting [ because:

I never wanted to have to come back to it again, [[[[[[ever]]]]]].
]
Matt
Jan 18, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I have read EVER, technically twice in two days. The first reading was while under the strangling and dancing influence of pain medication. Each passed moment the drugs nudged me to remind me to sleep, but EVER said no, it demanded to be finished.

EVER is a terror dome that can't be escaped. The words shrink, swell, fight, and grow on each page. Doors are open, doors are closed, and minds get fucked. A fear of cocker spaniels is brought into light as well.
Don
Jul 02, 2010 Don rated it really liked it
Blake Butler edits the literary/whatever blog HTMLGIANT, so I decided to read his book. This novella is sort of like an Ohle novel, sort of. It's pretty gross and awesome.

While this is probably not what the author intended, I read it as a narrative by girl growing up in a meth house at the end of the world. The focus is on the house and the body and light and mold. There is a line about her dad mixing chemicals in the closet, and that gave me the meth idea.
Daniel
Feb 02, 2010 Daniel rated it it was amazing
the first ten pages or so nearly set me on my way to the floor a-shakin' and a-murmurin' some new lost prayers of a hymnal that should not only be set on fire but sat on until.

i think blake's writing makes my fingers type like i am trying to write a blake butler sentence.

his sentences are better than mine and yours.
Amy
Mar 20, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing
EVER: A disturbing, interiorizing project, one that feels relevant to me after recently spending time with Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-paper” in the 19th century U.S. literature course I am currently teaching.
Jason Walker
Apr 28, 2011 Jason Walker rated it did not like it
The phrases "self- absorbed" and "arogantly looking" can be appennded to this book. Punctuation can save the reader, but it will not save the author in my opinion. You might find some new pictures in his prose, but I wouldn't.
Rauan
Jan 03, 2009 Rauan rated it it was amazing
wonderful book.

interview with the author, re "Ever,"
at http://rauanklassnik.blogspot.com/200...

(to see the rest of the interview look in archives-- or, more easily, click on one of the labels, like Blake Butler, at the bottom of the post)
c.vance c.vance
May 15, 2010 c.vance c.vance rated it really liked it
great concept---
decent execution, even; it just didn't hold my interest.

that said, it was remarkably well written and probably the first example of a male writing a female character that i found believable without being simultaneously annoying.
Jonathan
Apr 18, 2010 Jonathan rated it liked it
as a child the body was something done to me, something unwanted. days went confined by it. in that this book endeared itself to me endlessly.

also some beautiful bits, pairings, throughout.

but still, I don't know if I would recommend it.

also, hated the collages scattered throughout.
J
Feb 07, 2011 J rated it really liked it
Wonderful "gleam" fixated on "crawl."

An experience of world on world.

A creation of melt.

Fantastic.

My only complaint would be like most experimental books- feels lengthy/a little drawn out by the end.
Oriana
Feb 06, 2009 Oriana marked it as to-read
Recommended to Oriana by: Kevin
Great review by someone who has super taste, plus put out by a press I've meant to check out. Yes please!
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Blake Butler is the author of EVER, Scorch Atlas, and two books forthcoming in 2011 and 2012 from Harper Perennial. He edits 'the internet literature magazine blog of the future' HTML Giant. His other writing have appeared in The Believer, Unsaid, Fence, Dzanc's Best of the Web 2009. He lives in Atlanta.
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