The Family Arcana: A Story in Cards

By Jedediah Berry

A World Fantasy Award Finalist

Shuffle, cut, play, read. A story about a haunted family, published as a poker deck and written to be read a near infinite number of ways.

“The Family Arcana” is the portrait of a sprawling family bound to their decaying farmhouse by a web of passions and strange obsessions. Each shuffle of the deck reveals a new pattern of secrets, confessions, troubles, indictments, and dreams. The family grows, shrinks, and changes, trapped forever in its haunted house of cards.

Illustrated by Eben Kling and printed by the United States Playing Card Company, the deck is suitable for use in all standard playing card games.

52 Cards

The denser this world becomes, the more specific and also more changeable its inhabitants, which seems to be precisely the kind of mischief and heart that Berry intends.” —Strange Horizons

“Here’s a genius idea: take a creepy gothic story about a family living in a possibly haunted house and break it up and put the pieces on playing cards. Jedediah Berry and the folks at Ninepin Press did just that with ‘The Family Arcana: A Story in Cards’ and the results are brilliant and wonderful.” —SmokeLong Quarterly

“Recommended, especially for people who like Berry’s other writing; people who enjoyed Little, Big; people who collect unusual card and tarot decks; people interested in the way symbols can flex and bend and point towards different meanings; people whose relatives play a lot of trick-taking card games.” —Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling

“It’s a classic deck—four suits, deuce through ace—that includes several sentences of the surreal, slightly creepy story on each card. Play a card game, hold a story in your hand.” —Jacket Copy (the LA Times Books Blog)

“What do you get when you mix a ghostly novella with a deck of cards? You get ‘The Family Arcana,’ which is a deck of 52 cards (plus two Jokers) that can be played as any traditional card game…. The uniqueness comes with the fact that each card includes a snippet of the life of an excruciatingly dysfunctional family, as told by the children living inside the decomposing farmhouse.” —Purple Pawn

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