As I read through the pages of Only Revolution, I found myself too overwhelmed with words, dates, and changing formats to be able to concentrate on one thing. As a visual person, I was struggling to ignore these changes and simply focus on the text and honestly found them quite distracting to the storyline.
Does the author want the reader to go through each part in its entirety and then flip the book over and begin again or does he intend for the reader to go a section, set of pages, or a single page before flipping to the other narration? I tried reading the book in both large sections and by a single page and found pros and cons to each method. I enjoyed flipping every 10 pages, realizing that Sam and Hailey’s stories line up with one another yet often contradict. For example, on page 4 of the text Hailey states ” I’m The World which The Mountain descends from and I laugh because it tickles.” Meanwhile on the same page of his section Sam says “I’m The Mountain which The World climbs down from and I laugh because it tickles.” Why did Danielewski choose the story lines to both contradict and line up and can any one conclusion be drawn from the narration?
It is seemingly hard to choose one method of reading over the other: skimming over the story to embrace the full storyline, or read into every detail and chronological note to understand the depth of the author’s writing. After further research, I discovered the author spent 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 6 years writing this book, meaning somewhere in the midst of the random words and phrases written there must be meaning. Although hard to understand, the words in the text aren’t random and one could spend large amounts of time trying to decipher every decision made by Danielewski in the writing of this text.
In this interview, Mark Z. Danielewski, admites “The challenge to Only Revolutions is to learn how to unread the way you read when at last you open up the book and start to read”, which in itself this statement is a puzzle. I believe the challenge to this novel is learning to become enthralled with the story instead of attempting to find meaning behind every word.