There Is No Year
By Blake Butler
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061997426, 416pp.)
Publication Date: April 2011
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A family of three: father, mother, son.
A house that gives them shelter but shapes their nightmares.
An illness that nearly arrested the past, and looms over the future.
A second familya copy family. Mirror bodies.
Events on the horizon: a hole, a box, a light, a girl.
Holes in houses. Holes in speaking. Holes in flesh.
Memories that deceive and figures that tempt and lure and withdraw.
There Is No Year is the astonishing new novel by Blake Butler.
It is a world of scare, a portrait of return, a fable of survival and the fierce burden of art.
Blake Butler is the author of the novel There Is No Year, the novella Ever, and the novel-in-stories Scorch Atlas. He edits the internet literature magazine blog of the future HTMLGiant, as well as two journals of innovative text, Lamination Colony and No Colony. He lives in Atlanta.
“Deeply honest and emotional, a family drama that by its end brings on feelings as complex and satisfying as those summoned by Faulkner’s simple sentence ‘They endured.’…This novel is a thing of such strange beauty [that it yields] the rewards that only well-made art can provide.”
-New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
“A wild, poetic work.”
-Time Out New York
“Dystopian and sinister. . . . In There Is No Year, Butler subverts our understanding of family relations, rendering domestic tragedy as both familiar and strange.”
“There is no novel like There Is No Year.…Butler’s prose is persistent and perfected....His sense of humanity bleeds through the jagged edges, and by the end you’ve fallen for this nameless, deteriorating family, hoping it will survive.…Unexpectedly riveting, totally original, and frequently funny.”
-Tucker Shaw, Denver Post
“Butler’s sentences are frequently dizzying and poetic, and gathered in engrossing vignette-like sections.… A challenging, Dalí-esque spin on the horror genre, a postmodern playground …There Is No Year is also often funny and insightful, further proof of Butler’s impressive and innovative talents.”
-Time Out Chicago
“[An] innovative masterpiece…a haunting glimpse into a parallel universe.”
-Gina Angelotti, Metro
“An endlessly surprising, funny, and subversive writer.”
“This artfully crafted, stunning piece of nontraditional literature is recommended for contemporary literature fans looking for something out of the ordinary. Recommended for students of literature, psychology, and philosophy, as the distinctive writing style and creative insight into the minds of one family deserve analysis.”
“An acid burn of a lucid nightmare . . . accessible, rewarding, and engaging . . . There Is No Year can be hard as hell to read, but it’s also undeniably worth the effort.”
-Candra Kolodziej, The Stranger
“If there’s a more thoroughly brilliant and exciting new writer than Blake Butler, . . . well, there just isn’t. I’ve literally lost sleep imagining the fallout when There Is No Year drops and American fiction shifts its axis.”
“Blake Butler, mastermind and visionary, has sneaked up and drugged the American novel. What stumbles awake in the aftermath is feral and awesome in its power, a fairy tale of an ordinary family subjected to the strange, lonesome agony known as daily life.”
“An entirely original work that does what the best art should do: challenge the reader.…Like a 4G version of fiction[,] a metaphor for our new digital age. And like the best of dreams, There Is No Year also sticks in the brain long after the book is set down.”
“If the distortion and feedback of Butler’s intense riffing is too loud, you may very well be too boring.”
-Globe and Mail (Toronto)