THERE IS NO YEAR By Blake Butler [Review]

There is No Year

THERE IS NO YEAR was a novel that still makes me tilt my head and wonder what I just read. There really isn’t a plot to speak of, that is, there isn’t an underlined story.

We’re presented with a family that moves into a new home, but slowly descend into a madness like state, which could have in part to do with the “copy” family that they find lurking in their new home.

The characters (if that’s the right term for them) are all people that we know and have experiences that we, as an audience, have no doubt gone through ourselves. Butler presents the story in a writing manner that is just unexplainable. Chopped sentences are pretty much what fill the book. Incomplete thoughts, and a style of writing that will take a while to get a handle on are what There is No Year is all about.

The aesthetics of the novel are what make it great. Short, clipped chapters, dead white space, and sections (eight of them) that are separated only by blank grey pages.

The look of There is No Year is more of a conversation piece than a novel.

While I didn’t HATE the book, I can honestly say that I just don’t have a handle on it quite yet. It’s obvious that Butler is a great writer, the style that he puts on paper is amazing, and really forces you to concentrate and use your imagination as a reader. However, at times the style seemed almost lazy and less “cutting edge”.

I would like to pick up Butler’s other stories to see if this carries over to them as well.

Overall, I do believe that everyone should experience There is No Year, even just see the writing style and structure of the novel. And if you come away with a better understanding than I did, please email me and let me know.

Chances are I’ll still be scratching my head.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars | Publisher: Harper Perennial | Pages: 416 | Source: Publisher | Buy on Amazon

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