The Familiar, Vol. 4: Hades

As an episodic, multifaceted narrative told from multiple perspectives in multiple styles—featuring everything from a nuclear family in California to Shanghai dope fiends to high-tech crystal balls and house cats with supernatural powers—The Familiar would be ambitious enough even as a conventional text. Author Mark Danielewski, however, is hardly a fan of convention, and he takes his willingness to experiment to a new extreme in this series: text that warps and distorts into the shapes of spheres and honeysuckle, snippets of computer code, redactions, chapters that end in bursts of color, recurring visual themes. It’s a truly unique experience. While new readers will be instantly lost (start with volume 1 or don’t bother), volume 4 offers devoted readers some reassurance that there’s a method to the madness as the various plot lines finally begin to converge in unexpected but necessary ways.