Niina Pollari's Reviews > The Age of Wire and String

The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus
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's review
Mar 03, 2008

bookshelves: shortstories
Recommended to Niina by: Victoria Redel
Read in March, 2008

Weird book. I put it in "short stories" because it was described as a "novel," but it might as well be prose poems.

Its setting is a near future where something is wildly different from our world. The eponymous Age of Wire and String is a reference to time, to an era like the Stone Age. In it, Marcus creates a world in which words are the same but definitions vary from their meanings in our English. Each chapter reads like an encyclopedia entry from a dystopic present; each section ends with a list of defined terms, like a glossary. Recurring themes include birds, houses, weather systems (especially wind), and families (sometimes it reads like a bizarre autobiography, since glossary terms make reference to Marcuses and mothers and fathers galore).

Worth checking out, if you have a little patience for flipping back and forth. The writing is overall very unsettling. I walked away from it feeling like I do after a strange, unlikely dream.

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message 1: by Eden (new)

Eden I tried reading Notable American Women last summer, but had to put it down for school (natch). Let me know how this is! I'm going to give NAW another shot soon.

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