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The Fifty Year Sword

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


This special eBook edition features an animated cover design, animated illustrations and text, sound effects, and original music.

In this story set in East Texas, a local seamstress named Chintana finds herself responsible for five orphans who are not only captivated by a storyteller’s tale of vengeance but by the long black box he sets before them. As midnight approaches, the box is opened, a fateful dare is made, and the children as well as Chintana come face to face with the consequences of a malice retold and now foretold.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 27, 2012 – This first American edition of Danielewski’s novella, published in a different form in the Netherlands in 2005, has the theatrical quality of a children’s ghost story, complete with stitched-art illustrations (designed by the author), sweeping themes, and fairy-tale tropes. But the tale told by the Story Teller, hired to entertain the children, is nested in the all-too adult story of Chintana, a seamstress suffering through the aftermath of a painful divorce. The smallest daily rituals—opening a can of “bitter tea leaves,” putting on shoes—require terrific force, and she has visions of inflicting violence. At her twin’s urging, Chintana attends a Halloween party at an East Texas ranch, where she comes face-to-face with the source of her marriage’s destruction and discovers the Story Teller’s thirst for revenge. Danielewski (House of Leaves) knows that typographical landscaping can be a narrative tool. With rare exception, he unfurls his tale down one side of the page in quoted speech of different colors representing five orphans whose obscure connection is hinted at in an author’s note; text is juxtaposed or shares space with illustrations. Tension builds visually; some scenes slows to a sentence per page (a trick the author’s fans will recognize), vertically tearing the white space (readers resistant to textual hijinks may be frustrated). More of a narrative poem than a novella, this would be well suited to an oral reading and may be best thought of as an objet d’art that chillingly holds us accountable for our worst thoughts. Illus.


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Customer Reviews

This Book Deserves to Be Read

I read this book every Halloween. It's one of those works that sticks with you and so perfectly encapsulates so many things that it's easy to pick up over again. It's a book that will become a tradition to read forever, and it deserves it. It's a very creepy story and, while only taking an hour or so to read, has enough bits and pieces to keep you discovering new things in it even after countless reads. I love the extra mile that they went in producing this eBook as well. There's music flowing through it with pictures stitching themselves as you turn the page and clever effects on the words that work to engross you even further into the story. It really is in a class of its own and I promise that if you read it, you will love it. Everything about it from the wordplay to the setup of the actual writing and even just the general layout of the entire book is unique and original and certainly like nothing else you've ever read. I have to thank the author for once again pushing the boundaries of what books can be and creating an awesome piece of literature.

not much fun

if you're colorblind and can't tell who's speaking because the quotation marks are color coded

Mary Day

Chilling!!! Easily the most unique book I've ever read. All the elements of a scary tale told around a campfire. Every page is a surprise and a dare to continue...Do you dare?

The Fifty Year Sword
View in iTunes
  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Published: Oct 16, 2012
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.2 or later and iOS 4.2 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings