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There Is No Year

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  728 ratings  ·  142 reviews
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 moth ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Harper Perennial (first published April 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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 ·  728 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Eddie Watkins
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-fiction
For all its disturbing imagery – a mailbox stuffed with an ever-replenishing supply of live caterpillars, closets full of hair, enigmatic black shape-shifting structures that swell to fill yards and subsume houses, repeated instances of mirrors reflecting mirrors causing psychic quagmires, swarming ants invading houses, etc. – I found this book very comforting, even soothing, and even now, a full week or so after finishing it, I look at it and get warm feelings. I typically don’t consider myself ...more
Nate D
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: rooms full of hair
Recommended to Nate D by: the ants were in the son
Unrealizing the American Family(/)Home.

The house the house the house house house househouseouseouhoushous oususehouse house and the family family f a m i l y

I don't know where to start so I won't. A selection of nonstarts.

-It seems like this might be some kind of literary sensation already. I don't really follow what things are actual literary sensations, but I get the impression that they're, uh, maybe Don Delillo and Gary Shteyngart or something. This is more exciting because it's coming up,
Ben Loory
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
there was a period many years ago where i had a manic episode and didn't sleep for a week. during that time i became paranoid and depressed and delusional and confused and eventually started hallucinating and, well, it didn't end very well (though on the other hand, i'm still here)... during that time i had a very clear vision of the world as a pointless and joyless playing out of patterns-- inhuman and horrible though often blackly comic-- all of which inevitably eventually spiraled and fizzed ...more
Aug 26, 2010 added it
I'm just going to cut and paste what I said about this book when I emailed cal, the editor.

I love how it's like a postmodern haunted house story--I keep thinking how it would make such an awesome, trippy horror movie. It's like Amityville horror on acid. But I think someone who isn't as obsessed with horror movies maybe wouldn't see that, and I like that about it too--it's such a blank canvas in some ways. My freshman year in college I took this special seminar on "downtown culture" at the fale
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A List of Locations Appropriate for the Reading of There Is No Year

Outback Steakhouse
A Slaughterhouse
A Church
A Mall
A Factory
An Anthill
A Pod
Cracker Barrel
A Cube
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american
Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. I started this book a long time ago, actually the same day I started the girl who couldn't come, on the same subway to the same airport, I started this first, then switched cause I got sleepy. Then when David left I picked up escape and some books greg recommended and I'm just getting back to these now.

I don't really know how to talk about this book so instead I think I'm going to pretend to understand readers advisory instead of actually reviewing this.

If you l
Nov 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
Completely horrible and unreadable. This book ranks among the worst I've ever cracked open and that list includes some pretty bad books. You get the sense, reading it, that Butler imagines himself a young Dennis Cooper, but the problem is he possesses none of Cooper's originality or humor, or let's face it, talent. Instead he comes across as the worst kind of poseur wannabe. I read a ton of books coming out of the indie publishing world, and these books generally fall into two categories: 1) Wri ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: just-strange
Imagine Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as written by William S. Burroughs, Tom Robbins and John Updike, minus the traditional narrative flow, embracing instead the texture and feelings of words, their structure and even the tone of paper the book is printed on. It's not unlike staring at a wildly abstract painting an inordinately long time waiting for some rational thought upon which to grab, when the true ride is visceral and not intellectual. Parts of the book are brilliant and parts were ju ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

So perhaps it was the microscopically small expectations I had going into Blake Butler's admired yet reviled full-length literary debut There Is No Year that made me enjoy it a lot more than I had been expecting; after all, this experimental haunted-house story and Grand Future Of The American Contemporary
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not really a fan, although Blake Butler's sustained experimental style is certainly admirable on a technical level. The central problem here is a lack of contrast. Many of the individual passages here are interesting, even moving, and you could see them being powerfully deployed as elements inside of a better novel. But in the context of There Is No Year, the experimentation is literally all there is. There are no characters and only a whisper of a plot. In fact there's barely even reference to ...more
The Nike Nabokov
did you like eraserhead?
this guy LOVED eraserhead.
When Erica from Harper Perennial mentioned that There Is No Year is a challenging book, she was not exaggerating. Mr. Butler's latest novel is virtually indescribable in its plot but powerful in the emotions it evokes. Part poetry, part artistic rendering, it is a novel like no other.

There Is No Year follows, in a very meandering and disturbing fashion, the lives of an unnamed family after they move into their house of dreams. Each family member is haunted by his or her own memories and thoughts
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading reviews of this on amazon, and it's really strange to me that so many people knock Blake for "just trying to be different". I'm not sure I know what that means as a criticism. If people were complaining that it was all style and no substance, that would be one thing. But these people aren't really saying that. They're just saying that they don't like that he attempted an unusual aesthetic at all, I guess? To me it makes more sense to create the book in the way you think will be ...more
Ashley Crawford
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It was perhaps inevitable that Blake Butler would do this. The seeds were already planted in his haunting novella Ever and his blistering, apocalyptic Scorch Atlas. There was already no doubt that he could write like an angel on bad hallucinogens. But there was no way one could have predicted the horrific tsunami that is There Is No Year - an experimental tour de force essentially unlike anything I have encountered in waking hours. Indeed I read it in a grueling two-day marathon that was not unl ...more
Apr 19, 2011 rated it liked it
What I Can Tell You:

This was the craziest book ever and I mean that in the nicest way. It was a total, creepy, odd, trippy, journey into the kind of psychological, scary imagery I love in my horror movies. It was like reading a nightmare come to life. There is nothing like this out there.

The complexity of Blake's writing is why I call myself the Amateur Book Reviewer. It would take a semester of sitting with Blake to understand the nuances and details of this story.

The story centers around a fam
Kristopher Kelly
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book. It causes enough existential dread in me for me to like it, but overall it seems like a bit of a stunt, and the imagery is a bit uneven, often cliche. Butler never met a set of parallel mirrors he didn't like (the girl at the fast food place is wearing a shirt with a picture of the man in the car at the fast food place getting food from a girl wearing a picture of a man in the car and yadda yadda yadda ... what are we? in third grade?), and neither he nor h ...more
xTx xTx
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
There is a feeling of being disoriented while reading this book and I think that made me feel, in a way, that I was a part of the book. That I was inside the house. One day I picked the book back up after a week of not reading it and I had lost my page. I tried re-reading pages looking for the familiar but there was none. I knew I had read at least 100 pages but in scanning the chapters could not recall a single thing. I ended up starting over. This also made me feel like I was in the "experien ...more
Mark Johnson
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm reading this book on New Year's Eve with the the Syfy Channel's yearly Twilight Zone marathon on and I'm thinking, that's right. There is no year. And no nation. And no family. All abstractions that we use to organize the chaos that actually reigns. If the mental reality we live in is essentially abstract, why shouldn't the language we use to describe it be as well? (Revised note: The language later came to seem not abstract at all, but quite concrete.)

There Is No Year seems like something
Mar 26, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the first time I can truly say a book has left me corn-fused! I read the pitch e-mail for There is No Year by Blake Butler and was intrigued. There is no clear plot. The characters have no names. The chapters are short, some even have just a few words. The color of the pages range from light to dark. In my opinion, the story isn't linear. It feels like a jumble of thoughts/vignettes cobbled together in a book, but not in a bad way.

We have a mother, a father, a son, and...their copies. Ye
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
There is probably definitely something here, though not all of it hangs together and deliberate not-hanging-togetherness is poor recompense. But I am indulgent with experimental indulgence, fits of impatience aside. The reading worked best late at night, sleepily buzzed, undemanding, willing to sample another’s ramshackle picto-textual montage. The book seems stretched between a radical recognition of the literary consequences of the slippery autonomy of the signifier, on the one hand, and gener ...more
Blake Butler's writing is certainly poetic—it's very beautiful, even though it's describing really horrible and disgusting things. I love the style, but for a 400 page novel? It's a bit tough to get through. I'd find I'd go through several pages and only half-remember what I'd read. It was easy to get distracted, to not feel I had to pay attention to details. I was at the last page and didn't even realize it. In some ways, this is a cool effect, because that's also kind of what's going on in the ...more
Mar 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
There Is No Year is not at all what you would expect from a typical book. Instead of a straight forward plot, moving along to watch the characters change and grow from the beginning, this book takes you right into a more magical realm of the family life.

This book looks at what would seem like a typical family, but with a twist. Throughout the book, you don't feel like you're reading about the father, mother, or son--instead you are falling into an experience. The experience will obviously vary
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Some of the blurbs on the back of the book say that it's almost a reinvention of the novel, but I don't think that's quite right. Instead, it feels as if Butler has brought back the epic poem, but steeped in modern poetic sensibilities and replaced the heroic with the existential. It's a bizarre dismantling of modern life, in which the deconstruction of suburbia is mimicked by the deconstruction of the language. Butler will sometimes flip a sentence on its head and what emerges is a wholly new y ...more
Anne B
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Say there's someone you don't much like, and this person is buying a new house. (Too much house? Absurd, even? Perfect.) This person likes good fiction and movies, and consumes plenty of both.

Give him or her a copy of this book, and Poltergeist on DVD.



Seriously: this is a roaring achievement of a novel. A horror story, yes, but also a family romance and a study of grief -- all of which make its sparks of humor more visible, and that much more
Brandon Tietz
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Now that I've read "House of Leaves," it's all too obvious where this book derives from. I actually find it a little messed up how similar this book is to Danielewski's novel: same themes, same imagery, same text play.

I challenge anyone to read "House of Leaves" followed by "There Is No Year" and not see it.

I gave both books two stars. Although Butler's book is highly (blatantly) derivative, I can't deny his work is cleaner and more streamline. However, in regards to story, Danielewski has him b
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Painful, nearly perfect.
Frank Hinton
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was great. I don't feel intelligent enough to speak on it. It was moving and emotional and it's logic was wholly poetic. IDK, this is sort of a high-watermark of fiction to me. ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a strange book. I cannot honestly tell if I just can't understand half of it or if the author was just slinging crazy lines. It's definitely a very creepy, experimental sort of story with a general, confused sort of unease palpable in every page. I started this once before a couple of years ago and DNF very early on but certain parts crept so much into my subconscious that I HAD to give it another go-- the imagery of the Other family hit me hard enough to have had several unsettling dreams ...more
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of prose poetry
I've been a fan of Blake Butler since I read one of his pieces in an issue of FENCE a few years back. I immediately read an excerpt of his novella Ever online, although I still haven't managed to find the whole thing. One day I hope to.

As soon as I saw the description of this new novel last year, I couldn't wait for it to be released. It's easy to see where the comparisons to Danielewski's House of Leaves come from. Both novels are fundamentally about a family living in a strange house that cer
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
this book reminds me of puzzles in the way girl w/ curious hair did, and reminds me of 'house of leaves' in tone, and reminds me of a kafka short story in its characters and plot. it reminded me of 'unpublished blog posts of a mexican express....' in that much of it was very well-constructed poetry.

it was difficult to get through this book because it's 400 pages of characters with no proper names and a loose story line.

most of the times the characters are completely alone or only tangentially in
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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. ...more

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