Getting familiar with your reader: Mark Z. Danielewski and Art Spiegelman

With the debut of The Familiar, and a seven-figure advance, Mark Z. Danielewski has embarked on one of the most ambitious serial novel sequences of the decade.  Due to the unique dialogue among Danielewski’s readership, it’s no surprise that others have already begun to find nods to previously published works, or responses to fan input on paper. Easter eggs for Danielewski’s fan base are evident throughout the novel, such as the coloration of the word familiar, which Danielewski also did with the word house in House of Leaves.

Therefore, it isn’t a stretch to say that Danielewski’s form proceeds, in part, from his public self. As his notoriety grows, and discussions about his works expand, these things can become absorbed into Danielewski’s all-encompassing narrative style.

In a similar fashion, Art Spiegelman’s narrative becomes influences by his public self. The success of the first instalment of Maus garnered such critical and popular acclaim, that Spiegelman felt it was necessary to address the shift that this had caused in his creative process. On page 217, Speigelman addresses what is now a readership, commenting on his struggle to accept the notoriety of his success, while still remaining true to the character of his story.


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