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“The Familiar” Podcast!

This post more resembles a discussion “audio blog,” than a podcast. It was recorded by four students from Weber State University. Dylan Davis, Ben Bigelow, Chelsea Maki, and Trevor Byington each bring a topic to discuss with the group. The discussion covers the re-mediation of television, hetero-normatives in “The Familiar,” the “Signiconic,” and the “aesthetic conundrum” the novel has created.

It was recorded on 1/24/2015.

Keep in mind, this was not done in a studio so the audio can be a little spotty. Regardless, we hope you enjoy it!


front matter, end matter

Starting the text, one encounters a bunch of material as “front matter.” How does this relate to the stories we will read in the text body, and the “back matter” at the end of the story? Why is the novel enframed in this way? How does the framing material introduce thematic ideas explored in the text body–for instance, the relation between time and expression, body and language, noumenal and phenomenal reality, “normative” vs. “non-normative” life?

  • Headquote: kids and time, not space. “They never know WHEN they are.” Will the book be about time as well?
  • Front matter stories segments (different times, from deep past through present to deep future):
  • NEW THIS SEASON–seems an actual promo for Pantheon’s new releases, parallel to Danielewski’s preview of the next volume in this series at the end of the book.
  • unfathomably sophisticated beings trillions of years into the future, who (like us today) cannot answer the questions of death and war
  • Tom’s Crossing: Story of a boy who died of cancer, rode horses with another boy
  • Caged Hunt: something like a Youtube video showing 3 guys at (San Antonio?) Texas on July 29, 2014; they are snorting cocaine and bragging about going to do drugs (“going bowling”)
  • a page with 5 categories: Rain, Signiconic, Violence, Planetarity, Custody
  • a picture of a rock (Twin Rivers Ochre Artifact) and then a narrative of the deep past, “243,243 years ago” in what is today Lusaka, Zambia, where Boy and Girl talk about a violence to their people by…a predatory cat?
  • Seemingly a chapter division page, “One Rainy Day in May”, which we find out from is actually the subtitle of Danielewski’s novel, and the page features shadow pictures of at least 4 of the scenes above.

There are no page numbers until page 34, and then page numbers are normal type, at bottom of page. Once the “novel proper” begins–after the front matter–the page numbers are slanted and underlined.

The recto and verso sides of leaves within the “story proper” have odd markings running along the fold; what are these?