3 nice reviews from nice places seems nice
from Publishers Weekly:
Butler's inventive third book is dedicated "For no one" and begins with an eerie prologue about the saturation of the world with a damaging light. Suitably forewarned, the reader is introduced to an unexceptional no-name family. All should be idyllic in their newly purchased home, but they are shadowed by an unwelcome "copy family." In the face of the copy mother, the mother sees her heretofore unrealized deterioration. Things only get worse as the father forgets how to get home from work; the mother starts hiding in the closet, plagued by an omnipresent egg; while the son gets a female "special friend" and receives a mysterious package containing photos of dead celebrities. The territory of domestic disillusion and postmodern dystopia is familiar from other tales, but Butler's an endlessly surprising, funny, and subversive writer. This subversion extends to the book's design: very short titled chapters with an abundance of white space. Not so much a novel as a literary tapestry, the book's eight parts are separated by blank gray pages. To Butler (Scorch Atlas), everything in the world, even the physical world, is gray and ever-changing, and potentially menacing. (Apr.)
A family lives in a house in which strange things start to happen (or—it’s a new novel by Blake Butler).
Love him, hate him or feign indifference: There’s really no other way to react to the work of writer/postmodernist/multi-hyphenate Butler (Ever, 2009, etc). For those who like their prose fresh out of a cleaner and more traditional wellspring, Blake’s writing can prove tedious at best and arduous at worst. But for those who lean toward writing that is more visceral, taxing or outright demanding of the reader, this might be the right cup of tea—see Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000), to which this novel owes some debt. The book concerns a family of doppelgängers so featureless that Butler doesn’t bother to give them names (or more accurately, likely purposefully washes them out to their elementary characteristics). So, the father, the mother and the son live in a house, just like the carbon copy father, mother and son had done before them. The father stares at a computer screen. The mother stares at her lined face in mirrors and thinks protective thoughts about her son, who suffers from a disease that nearly ended his life. The son goes to school, makes a friend and watches television with his family. It’s all presented in hushed, monochrome language that gives the whole enterprise a sense of menace from the beginning, even before Butler introduces the father’s paranoia that things in the house are changing without his knowledge. And then things do start changing.
A gruesome slice of familial oddity that demonstrates its author’s versatility.
from Library Journal:
Butler keeps the reader guessing in his latest novel. A family moves into a house where another family lives—a lifeless, unseeing copy of the family. The family goes through individual psychological and paranormal experiences that make one wonder about the origins of the family’s demise—Is it the son’s carefully mentioned past disease? Some metaphysical demon in the son’s subconscious? Or does the newly purchased house cloak discontented poltergeists? Whatever the cause, each family member endures a private psychological hell that is disturbing in its authenticity. VERDICT This artfully crafted, stunning piece of nontraditional literature is recommended for contemporary literature fans looking for something out of the ordinary. Butler integrates unusual elements into his novel, such as interview-style monologs and in later chapters poetry-like stanzas. Also recommended for students of literature, psychology, and philosophy, as the distinctive writing style and creative insight into the minds of one family deserve analysis. [Eight-city tour.]—Jennifer Funk, Southwestern Illinois Coll. Lib., Belleville