The Unfamiliar Familiar

When reading a book, there are a certain set of standards. It’s oriented a certain way, the formatting is a certain way, and the language works a certain way. The more times you read a certain book, the more familiar it becomes to you. The Familiar is really anything but. The first few pages are oriented like a movie or television screen. The page numbers don’t start until page 34. Even the language is strange. He writes each chapter (or set of chapters) in a different font. He crosses out his words, but he keeps them in the text. He puts untranslated words from Russian and Singlish and Spanish, among others, in the text and leaves us to figure it out. He puts unexplained characters all over. Even the word familiar is formatted in an unfamiliar matter. I find myself wondering more and more the further I dive into this book what goes through the author’s head. Why would he do this? Does he mean for the word familiar to take on an ironicness or not?  Why is The Familiar anything but?

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One response to “The Unfamiliar Familiar”

  1. keeleym4 says :

    Every time I come across the word “familiar” in the book, my eye immediately catches onto that word because of it’s “unfamiliar” text format. I think that’s the reason the author decided to leave the word in that format; to make us think. Usually, if words are all in the same text, we would skim over them and not give them much thought. Because of the unusual format of the word “familiar”, I’m automatically inclined to think about what makes The Familiar, familiar (if that makes any kind of sense). Once I see that word, I always think back to the context it’s written in and what storyline I’m reading. I do think that the novel is, in a way, ironic because of how much we don’t find familiar about it. Especially with the constant symbols (usually in Astair’s or Xanther’s storyline).

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