Only Revolutions

by Mark Z. Danielewski | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9780385611381 Global Overview for this book
Registered by kittiwake on 1/7/2009
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by kittiwake on Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Sam in 1929:
Whereupon Polar Bears suddenly
rush among US, slashing, spending,
crashing boondoggle rackets and
chargé d'affaires. Too many heiresses,
not enough air. Sell, sale, sail. Angry
Bulls stampede for the swamp. Gone.
Janes, Jaybirds & Groundgrippers
slump stupefied
on the lawn.
Then little Hailey sniffs and desnoots:
-Ahh chooooooooooooo!


Hailey in 1971:
When for Hemp buds rush Narks,
here among US, cracking, planting,
confiscating stash. Clubs and cuffs.
Feebies sizzling Draft Dodgers and
Joggers. Pro Athletes diving
for the pool. Late.
ESTs, Guests & Pranksters
slump petrified
by the lake.
But Sam swerves us through
with a cry:
-Catch US on the flip side!


Hailey And Sam And Hailey And Sam And Hailey And Sam And Hailey And . . .

If you start from one end of this book the story is told from Hailey's point of view, and from the other end it is told from Sam's point of view. The reader is recommended to read "Only Revolutions" in eight-page chunks alternating between their points of view. It doesn't matter which end you start at; either cover could be seen as the front cover, the publication details and title page are repeated at both ends, and my hardback copy even has two ribbon bookmarks anchored at opposite ends of the spine, gold for Hailey and green for Sam, so you don't loose your places.

To start with this book bored me, as nothing much (or at least nothing comprehensible to the reader) seemed to be happening and the only reason I didn't give up on it was that it had been a birthday present from my brother. It's more like poetry than a novel, and the story doesn't exactly flow. By the time I had read 104 pages from each end, it was growing on me a bit. I think it appealed to my obsession with symmetry, and it was interesting how H & S see things rather differently from each other, as events in their stories coincide even though Sam's story runs from 1863 to 1963 and Hailey's from 1963 to 2063. I wonder if women tend to start with Hailey's pages as I did, and men with Sam's, and how my perception of the book would differ if I saw events from Sam's point of view first or if I stuck to one story rather than switching between them.

Sam And Hailey And Sam And Hailey And Sam And Hailey And Sam And . . .

Sam and Hailey are spirits of place, spirits of a young and vibrant country as well as of the ancient land. They are also nature spirits, with Sam having an affinity for the animal kingdom and Hailey for the plant kingdom. They are always 16, always together, and always on the move, filled with lust for sex and violence, life and death, spending two centuries criss-crossing the USA over and over again, firstly by horse or on foot and later in a vast selection of cars and the odd motorbike, before ending up back where they started, ready to begin the cycle again

It struck me just how difficult "Only Revolutions" must be to translate. As well as the many invented words, some words are deliberately misspelled to point towards other meanings, and the word us is always printed as US, to show that Hailey and Sam are the spirits of the United States, all of which would be hard to duplicate in another language.


"Only Revolutions" took me ages and ages to get through. I started it in early November, put it aside for the whole of December as I was finding it an extremely tedious read, and made a big effort in the new year, finally finishing it yesterday. Overall I am vacillating between fascination with the symmetry of the book and the many patterns to be found within its pages, and considering it a triumph of style over substance.

Released 13 yrs ago (4/25/2009 UTC) at Hudson's, 122-124 Colmore Row in Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom

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At Saturday's meet-up.

Journal Entry 3 by LyzzyBee from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Saturday, April 25, 2009
Picked up at the meetup for the pub OBCZ.

Released 12 yrs ago (11/15/2009 UTC) at Kings Heath - Hare and Hounds pub, High St in Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom

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