What Da Cover Says: Ezra Maas is dead. The famously reclusive artist vanished without a trace seven years ago while working on his final masterpiece, but his body was never found. While the Maas Foundation prepares to announce his death, journalist Daniel James finds himself hired to write the untold story of the artist’s life – but this is no ordinary book. The deeper James delves into the myth of Ezra Maas, the more he is drawn into a nightmarish world of fractured identities and sinister doubles.
A chilling literary labyrinth, The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas blends postmodern noir with artworks, photographs, newspaper clippings, original documents, biography, letters, phone transcripts, and emails to create a book like no other before it.
My History With This Book: April 21st 2019 was when I first finished reading this book, it was an incredible reading experience where fiction started to mess with reality…the paranoia in those pages leaked into real life, I saw signs of the Maas Foundation everywhere and I saw how powerful their reach was as book awarding bodies were forced into blocking wins for the book and anybody showing an interest in the book were soon followed by the Maas Foundation on social media….just for reading this review you’ll probably be on their radar. My review of the 1st edition of this book can be found HERE:
What’s Special about the Special Edition?: Using a new publisher James has created a true piece of art, hand written letters, photos, official government documents, confessions and maps are included with some fantastic artwork from Hanna Ten Doornkaat. Putting all this together gives you a reading experience like no other. Some of the documents even have blood on them, looks rather real, I wonder whose blood it was?
My Thoughts On The Re-Read: Due to the strange experiences after reading in 2019 I decided to play it safe this time, I travelled over 200 miles from my home to read the book in a secure hotel room in Liverpool whilst being protected by John Lennon:
I don’t think it matters how many times I read this book I’ll never be ready for the experience, the puzzle of trying to figure things out, the narration by “Anonymous” directing the reader to the outcome “they” want, the way Anonymous keeps interrupting the story makes me smile as I think “you ain’t controlling me this time”…I reckon maybe I lasted 50 pages before I was under their control. The characters are fantastic you’ll both love and hate Daniel James and you’ll be mesmerised by the life of Ezra Maas as you try to figure out why you have never heard of this man. I may be one of those readers that gets “a little too involved” in a book but this feels way more immersive than a movie, I was seeing clues all over the place, coming up with theory after theory which were soon shot down within a few pages, it was like the idea was put into my head and then taken away again as the book exerted it’s control over me.
You really need to pay attention to what you read, this is tougher to do than you’d expect as so much is thrown at you, little things like a description of a piece of Maas artwork is replicated later on in Daniel James’s life, blink and you’ll miss it.
Decoding Maas: If you haven’t read this book you may wish to skip this bit, whilst it isn’t spoilers it does contain my theories. It is mentioned many times that Maas includes numbers in his work, these numbers then lead you onto the next puzzle, during the reading I didn’t spot any clues, but I’ve done a few escape rooms since and am more adept at spotting clues and they were everywhere. There are over 500 footnotes and you gotta keep a close eye on the numbering, some are duplicated, some are missing. There is also a clue in the text to watch out for how the grammar is used, some pages have extra spaces before a comma…could this be highlighting that you need to look closer at the page? There is also the puzzle of who is Anonymous, I think I have figured it out….Anonymous is none other than 1.
Final Thoughts: This is still one of the best reading experiences I have ever had and it has been greatly improved by the additional images in this edition. The story twists and turns, confusing you at every turn, full of truths and lies, a detective novel without a detective, clues that are there to distract and that unsettled feeling you get from every David Lynch movie. Oh and the ending! Holy crap it is good, guaranteed to leave you breathless and shaking your head in amazement at what you have just read.
- Obviously this can’t be shared with the public so for the reviewer’s safety I have redacted this – Anonymous
You can get a copy of the book from HERE:
You can keep an eye on the Maas Foundation HERE:
You can check out the Books soundtrack HERE: