Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Familiar Volume Five Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Publisher: Pantheon
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Familiar Volume Five: Redwood
Pages: 880

(Spoilers for The Familiar Volume's 1-4)

Here is what the characters from The Familiar are currently up to ...

  1. Jingjing has found his cat, and he and Tiam Li head towards the Ibrahims home to get it back. 
  2. Shnorhk is getting ready to head to his first rehearsal in many years, but struck by the appearance of Tiam Li he picks her and Jingjing up and heads to the Ibrahims.
  3. In the midst of Jingjing descending on the house, Xanther's cat has an emergency medical episode and she and Astair must take it to the hospital.
  4. Anwar gives Jingjing the address of his neighbors in a poor attempt to stop Jingjing from coming over to reclaim the cat.
  5. Astair must tend to Xanther's cat and then head over to the neighbors to tell them what Anwar has done.
  6. Cas and Bobby prepare to meet with Recluse.
  7. Luther and his gang head over to Domingo's to kill him, and they discover he knows a lot more about their activities than he should.
  8. Ozgur meets with his co-workers for his final week on the job and he also meets with Cynthia and her sister Cricket who are helping them with their case.
  9. Isandorno heads back to the zoo where he meets with Juan and his family, and they share some quality time together.
This is certainly the most unique of the Familiar volumes thus far. Nearly 75% of the story takes place around the Ibrahim's house as Xanther and her family prepare to confront Jingjing over the cat. It's also the largest gathering of Familiar narrators in one place up to this point.

Danielewski also starts messing with shifting narrators mid-chapter, which makes the colors associated with each character very helpful. And the rapidly shifting perspectives helps to tie these very different characters closer to together to the supernatural going-ons and to each other. 

Nearly every character also has a major cliffhanger or makes an important choice that will undoubtedly change their plot's trajectory. It's easily the most catharsis inducing volume to date. The fifth volume of The Familiar has been called the season one finale, and it definitely has that bigger sort of feel to it. Although it's not similar to Cowboy Bebop plotwise, I can't help but notice that both stories decide to dramatically up the stakes in their respective fifth episodes. 

I would say if you're not on board with The Familiar after this book then it's probably safe to put it down. On the other hand, it's rumored that the publisher Pantheon has not committed to publishing more volumes after this one, so I would highly recommend reaching out to them to let them know you would like to see more Familiar books.

Score: 9.4

No comments:

Post a Comment