Mark Z. Danielewski (BSS #79)

Mark Z. Danielewski is most recently the author of Only Revolutions.

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Horrified by “misprinted” books.

Author: Mark Z. Danielewski

Subjects Discussed: The origins of Only Revolutions, Hailey’s appearance in House of Leaves, the use of obscure uncanonized words in Only Revolutions (and their various origins), hip-hop, Gene Wolfe, Anthony Burgess, teenagers and vocabulary, how structure affects wordplay, skateboards, the influence of movies, the dots on the right-hand corner, on whether Danielewski is an experimental writer, fonts and typography, leaving room for ambiguity in a taut structure, the urgency in getting Only Revolutions finalized, the leftwrist twist, how the circular symbol came about, and immortality and maturity.

[PLEASE NOTE: The most enthusiastic answer from an author in Bat Segundo history occurs at 32:49.]


Danielewski: I don’t think I’m an experimental writer. I don’t really know what that means, in fact, an experimental writer. For me, it’s always an exploration. I just can’t help but think, you know, when you experiment, you’re kind of tinkering. And this is such a prolonged investigation. You don’t tinker for six years. It’s a long quest to see where something goes. And the thing I really stand by is that I’ve fulfilled the qualities of Sam and Hailey’s journey. Now whether it’s a success or not, it’s clear what it is. It’s not halfly done. It’s wholly, spinningly done. You can either say, I don’t care for it. Or you can recognize, wow, if we go, if we follow this path to its — maybe not its conclusion, but as a long way, this is kind of where it ends up going. And these are the things you get out of it. And these are things you don’t get out of it. And that creates a valid type of conversation.


  1. Anne Fernald

    Ok. I still think he’s pretentious. It’s silly to start to say “Yale” and then back track and say “in college.”


    His “Asolutely. Absolutely…” was worth the wait. It is, indeed, the most enthusiastic answer from an author….

    Thanks, Ed.

  2. decap

    wow. he’s awful. with his ‘if you wills’ and his ‘certainly’ this and ‘actually’ that , danielewski sounds utterly affected and phony. like a teenage debate kid. ‘house of leaves’ was good, his second book was trash. but either way he should stick to writing. this writer should NOT do interviews because he comes off as a self-absorbed fatuous ass. too tedious. and the gushing interviewer should maybe try to prune some of those ‘sort ofs’ and other verbal tics if he’s serious about talking for a living. they spend ten minutes covering teenage vernacular and trying to intellectualize this tired little ‘new’ strategy. give me a fucking break. these guys should be in advertising where the dead people work.

  3. Knossos

    To warrant hate mail you have to be doing something right. And, you have to care for him a little to spend that amount of time typing out your displeasure.

    Also, of course he’s pretentious. Linguistic accomplishments of his calibur can only directly invite a “Hell yeah, I’m just that incredible” attitude… the man drives a Prius to boot. Incredible books, however smug.

    Fuck Prii.

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