The Fifty Year Sword
By Mark Z. Danielewski
A simple Hallowe’en ghost story about a cheating woman getting her comeuppance is tricked out to the max, Danielewski-style, in The Fifty Year Sword. What this mainly means is visual gimmickry, including colour-coded quotation marks signaling the speech of different characters, a whole book’s worth of blank versos, and a lot of expressionistic stitch-work art. It’s all very clever, and creates a nice slow burn of dread, but there’s just not a lot here. Originally it was produced as a performance piece, where it probably worked better.