The Familiar: One Rainy Day in May by Mark Z. Danielewski contains good story telling. While it is easy to get caught up in labels like “experimental fiction,” the bottom line for me is whether the writing was good and I was emotionally moved by the story. Yes. The non-traditional techniques –like using different font types, manipulating the space on the page, and using unfamiliar language—add dimensions to the multiple storylines of the novel.
The novel takes place on one rainy day. The storylines take place in multiple locations –a number in Los Angeles. Some of the stories are dark. Others touching. The major storyline is about a twelve year old girl, a sweet misfit, and her loving step-dad. For me, each storyline contained some level of mystery, confusion, and/or uncertainty.
Because this is the first novel in a longer series, the book only hints at how the storylines might relate with one another.
I was left with more questions than answers. I want more. Now. Certainly the reader that starts in on reading book 1 before the other books in the series are published will have a different experience than readers who can read synopses of later books. Is this fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror? How do the storylines fit together?