a rearranged affair
Sara Ranchouse Romance Series #1
1996; 6 3/4" x 4 1/8""; 188p; found books; four-color offset-
printed cover; perfect binding

a rearranged affair is an edition of 188 (the usual number of
pages in the series I used) Harlequin romance novels whose
spines have been cut off and their pages recollated to make
188 new, each unique, novels. The idea is that, though the
characters' names and the locations change, the stories read
coherently, since the formula is consistent, i.e., the encounter,
the conflict, the denouement, all occur on about the same
page. The cover has been redesigned with a black, or blank,
screen onto which the reader might project her own recombi-
nant scene in place of the customary cover illustration.

Though a rearranged affair more or less functions as a read-
able, if disjointed, text, it unexpectedly manifests, physically,
the impossibility and failure of the mass manufacture and con-
sumption of books. Some of the books are a fraction of an inch
taller or narrower than others; some have a red painted edge
and others do not; the font and point size shift from one to the
next. One reader left a burn mark through an entire book that
occurs on only one leaf of each rearranged book, dissipating
the drama of the original event.