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One Rainy Day in May

(The Familiar #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  3,279 ratings  ·  564 reviews

From the author of the international best seller House of Leaves and National Book Award–nominated Only Revolutions comes a monumental new novel as dazzling as it is riveting. The Familiar (Volume 1) ranges from Mexico to Southeast Asia, from Venice, Italy, to Venice, California, with nine lives hanging in the balance, each called upon to make a terrifying choice. They incinternational
Paperback, 880 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2015)
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Eric Taxier It's the first volume -- and 880 pages long. There will be 26 more of these. You're basically getting a half-pound burger, fries, and a milkshake for…moreIt's the first volume -- and 880 pages long. There will be 26 more of these. You're basically getting a half-pound burger, fries, and a milkshake for your amuse bouche.(less)
Sara Grossaint I bought a bible bag for these so the covers wouldn't get damaged and I could zip it up and protect the book (and its successors) from other outside…moreI bought a bible bag for these so the covers wouldn't get damaged and I could zip it up and protect the book (and its successors) from other outside damage and, when I wasn't reading, I had a handle to carry it by.
Here's something sort of like what I have so you know what I'm talking about:

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Apr 30, 2015 marked it as to-read
The story concerns a 12-year-old girl who finds a kitten.

okay, danielewski. you get one more chance to wow me.

make it count!
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
Not a Kindle read....
Unique layout design- dazzling & riveting & emotional. It took me a few months to finish.
A twelve year old girl sets out with her dad to get a dog. You ask why it takes 800 plus pages to tell this story?? - They have a creature to save......
travel the world and save it! Awesome journey!!! Unbelievably ambitious!
Jim Elkins
Jun 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: american
What Does It Mean to be a Rum Writer?

Danielewski is a rum novelist. He has affinities to experimental, conceptual, hypertextual, metafictional, and other avant-garde writing, but his versions of those practices are awkward. He has the same relation to contemporary experimental fiction as Larry Rivers or David Reed had to abstraction and figuration in the 1980s, or George Rochberg or Alfred Schnittke had to postmodern music in the same decade: that is, he produces unmodulated juxtapos
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
What the fuck was I even reading.
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe it'll be 13 years before this is done. I can't even imagine how it will go, what it will be, how any of this connects or works.

but if Danielewski's stated goal was to make the novel compete with modern-day serialized television, he's doing it. He's also doing about eight hundred other things and kind of blowing my mind with each of them. I'm all in on this series, already - and dare-I-say excited to know that I'll have an installment to look f
Jason Pettus
Sep 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
Got 200 pages in before I finally gave up. Sorry, Danielewski. Never in my entire life have I seen an author force their fans to wade through so much bullshit just to read a mediocre Young Adult science-fiction story. Love the ambition, but despise the results.
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
[Not sure a second reading improved my measure of the book. I will begin the second volume though with a reluctance and misgivings about the MZD's use of voice and his waste of space.]

In other words: I am not original. I am merely a blend of current texts neither influenced nor influential because all that I reveal can at any point be reconfigured via any of the above-mentioned subset voicings.

The above quote arrives two-thirds of the way through the first (and likely my last) volume of the p/>In
Ian Scuffling
I guess it’s funny that I’ve reviewed Volumes 3 and 4 of The Familiar but not 1 and 2. Hell, my write up for Vol. 3 wound up blurb-ed on the back of Vol. 4, so I guess that’s something, right? So why review Vol. 1 now? Out of completionism? Out of some self-serving need? Out of deep admiration and appreciation for the affect these books have? Out of boredom? Commitment to the cause? Procrastination at work—can I say I get paid to write reviews if I do them on company time?

The answer is probably “yes” t
Wiebke (1book1review)
I can't put into words how much I loved this book for what it did to my mind while reading!
I believe one should go into this book not knowing anything and remember: this is just the beginning.

I will try to put my thoughts into a video if you want to know more about the book, if you can't go into it blindly or have read it and want to compare ideas.
Brandon Forsyth
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book is big. This book is ambitious. It's challenging and experimental and impressionistic. I have nothing against big, ambitious, challenging books. But I really disliked this.
Mark Z. Danielewski is apparently going to publish 27 volumes of this story, and once I found that out, it really helped to make sense of this book. It has the feel of a television pilot, struggling to introduce the themes and diverse cast of characters it features, while never really getting into the meat of t
Gena Smith
May 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
When I finished this book, I'm pretty certain I finished Danielewski along with it.

I understand there is a lot of hype and that he has a solid following, and I don't want to be one of those people who insist on comparing everything he produces from this point forward to House of Leaves, but...

I guess the frustration with this is that House of Leaves felt incredibly intentional. Every word, every format, every color served a purpose. And I appreciated that, because it felt substantia
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a beautiful book that you really need in print, to hold in your hands, to explore, to flip back when you realize something....

The theme of rain comes back and there is actually art made of raindrops or the letters of rain within the text. I'm sure I missed half the hidden stuff but this is the first of 27 volumes (this one is almost 900 pages, so imagine the shelving I will need just for this series alone!). This is immersive, multi-faceted, yet not as terrifying as House of
Jonathan Pool
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-lit
There are some great, insightful reviews of The Familiar (Book 1), here on Goodreads.
My enjoyment of One Rainy Day In May, and better understanding has also been vastly assisted by the excellent FANDOM Wikia, and by Ian Scuffling and his Goodreads Familiar Group.
I've completed volume 1, the characters have been introduced, the scene is set, and with four follow up volumes published I’m ready for full on immersion in time for Christmas 2017.
Danielewski fans need little or no enc
Nick Splendorr
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mzd-related
It's like a strange dream, a confirmation and an explosion of my intuitions; that the visions half-articulated by the earlier stories are all occurring now in real time, horrifyingly, and so much more clearly than I had been able to hope.

Mark knows his symbolic language, this universe of his, which is our universe, inside and out. It's in every paragraph. What bothers me— which means, what I love about it— is how much I understand, and how much it makes me sure I don't understand it all, at all
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing

It's tough to put a specific rating on this book, as it's like reading what could be your favorite book, but being asked to rate it when you're yet only a tenth of the way through (or, here, 1/27th). But, much like a pilot to a television show (as the book intentionally echoes), there's a lot to talk about, a lot to love, a lot to keep hoping for. Others far smarter than me have written brilliant analyses of this already (googling for some of these after reading should be required --
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Math warning! Then a slight review!

It's really 3.7564536 stars, an irrational number that I've rounded for your benefit. Remember an irrational number is a number with a decimal that never ends and never repeats. Or, a simpler way, perhaps, of remembering it, is that the number cannot be written as a fraction like rational numbers (2/3 is rational, so is -4 because that can be expressed at -4/1.). e, pi, square root of 2 are examples of irrational numbers. The real numbers are made u
Oliver Chamberlain
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Since I've recently done a reread of the first four volumes in anticipation of volume 5 coming out at the end of October, I wanted to go back and leave a review for the series. I'll start simple: This is one of the greatest literary feats of the 21st Century. For those of you who feel daunted by the nearly 900 page tome, please know that it's probably the quickest read you'll have all year. MZD writes in a style which sometimes has him putting no more than a sentence or a few words on a page, so ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. I can't believe there are going to be 27 vols and I can't imagine where it will go by the end but I for one am along for the ride.
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Let's run some numbers.
(view spoiler) ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a tough book to review...

As someone who routinely reads epic fantasies, the size of an individual book (or series) usually isn't a concern for me. (I've read the Malazan series [10 books], the Wheel of Time [14 books], the Dresden Files [15 and counting], the Cerebus comic series, etc.)

That said, I'm not sure how I feel about this book, or this series, even after reading this behemoth of a novel.... (I'm not even sure I can accurately summarize the book, if asked.
Jan 13, 2015 marked it as started_finish_later
weird but quite interesting so far - a novel that has the 7 indeterminate limits ( 0/0, 0*infinity, 1^infinity, etc)on one page and the fallacious proof that 1=2 dividing by zero on another page is definitely one I want to read; also excellent artwork and while sometimes the scattered words pages typical of the author are annoying, the novel is worth the time and effort so far

read about 200 pages - bought the ebook (which in the BN epub form is quite decently looking on the 9'' HD+ )
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
My overall impression of this book is that I loved it. I loved the style, the visual layout, the puzzles and all the theorizing it created. To try and write a complete review is difficult because there is so much to say and also I don't want to spoil any of the mystery for someone.

This is the first volume in the 27 volume series. The first volume poses as an introduction to the 9 characters that it focuses on by way of chapters dedicated to each one. The story unfolds nicely and in a way that k
Oct 22, 2015 marked it as dnf
Shelves: ucla
I read 100 pages of this, and I actually like were it's going and want to continue, but I think I'd rather wait until more books in the series are out. The book is written in a complex style and there is no way I will remember the events of the first book when the final book comes out. I'm going to give the series a few years to develop.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I can't review this is a stand alone as it is part of a much larger series. I will warn those looking for a plot heavy story should look elsewhere. An interesting experiment in literary art am not Eager to read the rest but am intrigued enough to check out the next couple volumes.
Nov 02, 2017 marked it as to-read
Alright. I'll bite. All the savory updates on this sequence of books and the MZD Bookworm episode have me wanting to give MZD another go.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. I cannot wait to get into volume 2. I loved the little bit of teaser with the owl. MZD works magic creating actual images with words.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
"Dad always says reading is a risky business"

It’s hard to know where to start when writing something about this book. Essentially, it is 839 pages in which almost nothing happens. Well, that’s not true, a lot happens, but very little moves forward. There’s a clue in the title: “One Rainy Day In May”. All the action takes place on a single day (10 May 2014) and, you’ve guessed it, it rains a lot. The heart of the book belongs to Xanther, a young girl battling epilepsy, and her mother Astair and s
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2015, 2-stars, review
Well, I wanted to give it a try, to have a little faith in the author, which I felt was a bit risky given the nature of the project. I visited a bookstore to actually see the book and decide whether to buy it or not, and the thing is over 3 lbs. Kind of nice looking, but mostly only due to the slick pages, otherwise, not especially appealing. The story itself, well, sure, he could pull it together, plenty of more pages to do that, yuck yuck, but it's off to a very slow, bordering on boring, or a ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Quite possibly best novel of the year. I thought at first the visuals were a gimmick but I was wrong. The author is very much in command of all aspects of the book and his use of fonts color and illustrations created a unique reading experience. Unfortunately I feel a bit like I do when I finish the first book in a series: now I have to wait. 26 more volumes go..
*~Lan Lan~*

It may be 40 degrees outside, sun bright and high in the sky, and I am sweating buckets while getting a horrible 'tan' which is looking more and more like a burn but I can still imagine the light touches of rain, the pitter patter on the roof above me, and the smell of sweet moister in the air.

This book is an experience. An experience that is unidentifiable since it is so versitile in nature and subjected to the reader's interpretation. I say experience in the most ambiguous way for two reasons: 1) I don
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
MZD's The Familiar: July 26-31, pages 622-880 2 12 Aug 04, 2017 08:44AM  
MZD's The Familiar: July 20-25, pages 436-621 2 5 Jul 25, 2017 08:45AM  
MZD's The Familiar: July 14-19, pages 290-435 2 5 Jul 18, 2017 12:13PM  
MZD's The Familiar: July 8-13, pages 160-289 2 10 Jul 14, 2017 01:14PM  
MZD's The Familiar: July 5-7, pages 1-159 2 27 Jul 07, 2017 01:30PM  
Amy and Erin's Am...: The Familiar: Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May 3 38 Jul 04, 2015 05:05PM  
Just finished... and WOW 1 45 May 25, 2015 10:16AM  

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Mark Z. Danielewski is an American author best known for his books House of Leaves, Only Revolutions, The Fifty Year Sword, The Little Blue Kite, and The Familiar series.

Danielewski studied English Literature at Yale. He then decided to move to Berkeley, California, where he took a summer program in Latin at the University of California, Berkeley. He also spent time in Paris, preoccupied mostly with writing.


Other books in the series

The Familiar (5 books)
  • Into the Forest (The Familiar #2)
  • Honeysuckle & Pain (The Familiar #3)
  • Hades (The Familiar #4)
  • Redwood (The Familiar #5)
“Our newness lies only in parts rearranged.” 16 likes
“Sometimes how you talk is all you got. Even if your talk is wrong.” 16 likes
More quotes…