Mark Z. Danielewski’s The Familiar (Volume 4) brilliantly combines inventive visuals and a paradigm-shifting narrative to create a stunning multisensory reading experience.
A viral video puts twelve-year-old Xanther under a spotlight of unwanted scrutiny at school. Eager to elude this attention, she seeks refuge at home with her little white cat, who — still unnamed, ever slumbering — continues to hold her in its thrall. But at home, too, there is worry. Anwar and Astair wonder about the strange currents that seem to shudder around their eldest daughter, touching off inexplicable happenings in her wake. The twins, Freya and Shasti, are visited by troubling entities in their dreams. Even promising news becomes tinged with unease when Anwar, on the eve of solving his family’s financial difficulties, is forced to choose between known and unknown dangers. And all the while, faces unfamiliar to the Ibrahims draw inexorably nearer: Jingjing, clutching charms, boards a plane with Tian Li from Singapore to Los Angeles, while Cas and Bobby, with visions of Xanther in the orb, narrowly escape an attack — only to run headlong into murkier eventualities. Nine lives journey toward a point of no return... but will these collisions lead to alliance or disaster?