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The Familiar, Volume 4
Cover of The Familiar, Volume 4
The Familiar, Volume 4
Hades
Mark Z. Danielewski's The Familiar, Volume 4 brilliantly combines inventive visuals and a paradigm-shifting narrative to create a stunning multisensory reading experience.

The Familiar Volume 1
Wherein the cat is found
The Familiar Volume 2
Wherein the cat is hungry
The Familiar Volume 3 Wherein the cat is blind
The Familiar
Volume 4
Wherein the cat is toothless
When a viral video puts twelve-year-old Xanther under a spotlight of scrutiny at school, her little white cat—still slumbering, still unnamed—offers the only escape, though it comes at a price. Not even Xanther's parents can deny the strange currents now shuddering around their eldest, touching off inexplicable happenings. Entities troubling the dreams of the twins seem to have singled out Freya. Despite invitations to a gala at The Met, Anwar fears the solution to their financial difficulties might expose more than just his family to dangerous consequences. Something greater is at hand, something terrible is at stake. And all the while, faces unfamiliar to the Ibrahims draw closer and closer: Jingjing, in Singapore, clutching charms, boards a plane for Los Angeles; Cas and Bobby, with visions of Xanther in Mefisto's Orb, must elude attacks from the sky. Strangers collide . . . though will those intersections lead to alliances or war? And does the dance at the center of Volume 4 augur the liberation of our better angels or the release of a creature set to feast on the wings of hope?

THE FAMILIAR
continues
The Familiar Volume 5 Wherein the cat is named
Mark Z. Danielewski's The Familiar, Volume 4 brilliantly combines inventive visuals and a paradigm-shifting narrative to create a stunning multisensory reading experience.

The Familiar Volume 1
Wherein the cat is found
The Familiar Volume 2
Wherein the cat is hungry
The Familiar Volume 3 Wherein the cat is blind
The Familiar
Volume 4
Wherein the cat is toothless
When a viral video puts twelve-year-old Xanther under a spotlight of scrutiny at school, her little white cat—still slumbering, still unnamed—offers the only escape, though it comes at a price. Not even Xanther's parents can deny the strange currents now shuddering around their eldest, touching off inexplicable happenings. Entities troubling the dreams of the twins seem to have singled out Freya. Despite invitations to a gala at The Met, Anwar fears the solution to their financial difficulties might expose more than just his family to dangerous consequences. Something greater is at hand, something terrible is at stake. And all the while, faces unfamiliar to the Ibrahims draw closer and closer: Jingjing, in Singapore, clutching charms, boards a plane for Los Angeles; Cas and Bobby, with visions of Xanther in Mefisto's Orb, must elude attacks from the sky. Strangers collide . . . though will those intersections lead to alliances or war? And does the dance at the center of Volume 4 augur the liberation of our better angels or the release of a creature set to feast on the wings of hope?

THE FAMILIAR
continues
The Familiar Volume 5 Wherein the cat is named
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About the Author-
  • MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI was born in New York City and now lives in Los Angeles.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2016
    "Envy is not a vewy laudable twait." No, Elmer Fudd hasn't gone to work for Mossad, but he wouldn't be out of place in this sprawling-by-formula continuation of Danielewski's (Honeysuckle and Pain, 2016, etc.) modern epic.Four volumes in, Danielewski has by now set some parameters that are approaching hard rules; each major player, for instance, gets a font of his or her own, so that Xanther, the protagonist, figures in Minion, while her father, Anwar, is represented, neatly enough, in an ancestral Garamond. It's a field day for the folks down at the Adobe type shop and usually not too hard on the reader's eyes. For his part, the rhotically challenged Warlock ("its cwimes against humanity, committed in the twentieth centuwy, slip beyond ou' pu'view") provides some of the philosophical underpinning for Danielewski's story, in which someone somewhere is always talking about something portentous: human nature, social disintegration, the problem of violence. Oh, and soccer, "a subject mined with violence," which threatens to bring conversation to an end and break the "sense of familiarity and trust that will serve when distance intervenes during volatile interactions." Xanther, her mysterious cat always wandering off somewhere, is heard from perhaps a touch less than in previous books, sometimes now in the sometimes-calligrammatic texting language of just-barely-teenagers. For fans only. From this installment, it's hard to see how Danielewski will keep up the narrative energy to bring the story to a close 20 volumes from now--but readers deep into the series will be wanting more all the same.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2016
    In this fourth volume in National Book Award finalist Danielewski's cult-hit magnum opus, The Familiar, a video gone viral puts 12-year-old protagonist Xanther off school, but surprises await when she stays home with her still-unnamed cat.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Ryan Vlastelica, The A.V. Club "The series at times recalls Ulysses, Infinite Jest, and Cloud Atlas in its complexity, structure, and echoing parallel narratives. . . . The literary world is stronger for having boundary pushers like Danielewski."
  • Jason Sheehan, NPR Books "So perfectly relatable, so beautifully rendered. . . . So, so worth it in the way that reading [The Familiar] rewires your brain."
  • John Freeman, The Boston Globe "Graphic design works in tandem with storytelling in this fascinating, ongoing, humongous experiment with form and the experience of reading."
  • Tom LeClair, The New York Times Book Review "[The Familiar] is a 'remediation' of television series like Twin Peaks and Breaking Bad . . . resembles Altman-inflected movies . . . or the time and place-skipping novels of David Mitchell. . . . I'm definitely in."
  • Allison K. Hill, Los Angeles Daily News "Danielewski has somehow created a format, an experience, that mimics the best of the digital future we've been told to expect, while exploiting the best of print, that which we've been told to mourn. . . . The Familiar is a tour de force."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Hades
Mark Z. Danielewski
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