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Inventive and unsettling, May 10, 2015
by Andrew Watt (Los Angeles, California)The reader experience of Feu de Joie is that of browsing an online archive, and the first passages are appropriately dry. The testerís helpful notes become more confused and uncomfortable as the material gets weirder. To generate that weirdness, DeNiro inventively exploits Twineís roots in web design. The artless presentation of the clientís work makes them seem incompetent (and non-threatening), so when text blurs, fades, and becomes unaccountably janky, itís surprisingly disturbing.
I enjoyed the contrast between Dunsany's cultivated prose and the testerís more conversational notes (the novel House of Leaves comes to mind). Itís amusing at first, but becomes unsettling when the text seems to return the tester's gaze. The testerís a smart guy, but I worried for him, as I would for a horror movie character (ďDonít open that door!Ē), and I fear that something terrible is in store for him.
Do read the testerís first letter to Martha before beginning Session 1. It establishes who he is and whatís at stake for him. This first episode is brief but involving, and teases at unsettling developments to come. An intriguing story, and imaginatively designed.
Disclaimer: I recently pledged to support Feu de Joie on Patreon.
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