House of Leaves

by wil — Aug 11, 2010

House of Leaves

I finished Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves almost two weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to write about it, but not quite sure how to go about it.

It’s an odd book to say the least.

It’s about a film that doesn’t exist, a very strange House, and a narrator whose own story fills the footnotes and appendixes.

You might find House of Leaves in the “Horror” section, but don’t be put off by the “horror” label if that’s not your thing (it’s definitely not mine). It’s largely Lovecraft/Poe “horror” — it’s spooky, it’s psychological, it’s strange. Indeed, so strange, so circuitous, so ambiguous, you might well find yourself hanging out at www.houseofleaves.com/forum/, trying to make sense of it all.

The ambiguity is definitely part of the fun, but I also found it to be a weakness. It’s too ambiguous. It’s insanely ambiguous. But I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s fun to read. It’s crazy. The appendices run over 130 pages and are filled with letters, poems, quotations, drawings — some of which are important to the story, some of which are not. There’s a large index that includes words like “and,” “just,” and “in.” There are pages where all of the text is crammed into the corner. There are pages that have almost completely been crossed-out. There are

pages

that

       contain

               just a

                       single

                                        wo-
                                        rd.

If you liked The Raw Shark Texts or the movie Memento, I think you might like House of Leaves.

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