Before FSG released a print version of The Silent History in the summer of 2014, the book began in an altogether unique format: as a serially published interactive app created by Eli Horowitz, former publisher of McSweeney’s, with a team of writers and designers. Some passages even remain unseeable until the app user reaches a specific location, confirmed by her device’s GPS. (Read more about the project in this interview with Horowitz over at Contents.)
If it sounds hard to reconcile the experience of navigating a tech-drenched-app with that of paging through a paperback, maybe think again. Booklist reviewer Heather Paulson found the traditional-book version fascinating and propulsive, claiming it lost nothing in its translation to print. And I haven’t even yet mentioned the experimental book’s content or the trailer that brought us here in the first place. The premise begins simply: in the not-too-distant future, children are experiencing major communication difficulties. Miranda July and Ira Glass narrate the trailer as concerned parents, while photos—some with small details circled, perhaps small clues to us—drift past.