Lit Seen: James Hannaham's God Says No; Mark Z. Danielewski Exposed at PEN Fest

A longtime critic offers up his first novel; a rare author sighting at the World Voices Festival

The cabaret took place in the same basement auditorium of the French Institute that had earlier played host to two highly anticipated panels. One was a discussion between Paul Auster and Enrique Vila-Matas, an enormously charming Spanish writer already adored in Europe who, by the end of the week, had done much to further his reputation here as well. The other was a live appearance by the somewhat reclusive Mark Z. Danielewski, the author of House of Leaves and Only Revolutions—two of this century's most notoriously labyrinthine and obsessed-over novels—who was paired, felicitously, with his friend, the author Rick Moody.

"Mark, you don't appear in public that often," joked Moody, before walking Danielewski through a bio that remains a bit shadowy: the author's avant-garde filmmaker father; his childhood stints in Spain, Africa, Switzerland, and Utah; his time at Yale; and his pre–House of Leaves travels through New York, Vermont, France, and L.A. PEN World Voices is all about fresh discoveries, however, so we're happy to bring news of a heretofore unknown Danielewski novel, titled The Hellhole, about "a very rich kid who became a cocaine addict, beat up a police officer, went to prison," and "was sodomized," before finally enacting "some sort of heinous revenge" on all who had wronged him. It's an early work—Danielewski wrote it when he was 10.

Breakfast specials in the Waffle House bathroom: God Says No's Hannaham
Daniel S. Neuner
Breakfast specials in the Waffle House bathroom: God Says No's Hannaham

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