House of Leaves

House_of_leaves

I’ve heard about this book, the first book by Mark Z. Danielewski, for years. It’s a combination scholarly research paper and critique of that paper. But it is so much more than the sum of its parts.

There’s four narratives going on in the story, though only two are the primary narratives. Those are the stories of Zampanò and Johnny Truant. The other two are the editor and Johnny’s mother (her narrative appears at the end of the book and in a companion book).

Zampanò’s narrative is primarily in the form of The Navidson Report, a scholarly journal article about The Navidson Record, a film recorded and edited by Will Navidson, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, about his home. His home has the ability to morph, to change shape and grow, yet on the outside, the house remains the same size. The second narrative is Johnny Truant’s, he finds Zampanò’s manuscript and manages to do some basic editing and research into the book. He also writes down his own exploits.

I loved this book, it was totally different than anything I had ever read before, and to me, that’s a good thing. The only gripe I have is a minor one. I felt it would be a great piece of circular storytelling if Johnny managed to find the house on Ash Tree Lane and stepped inside…

But it never happened.

That’s not to say the book is horrid because of that omission. This book is great. The typefaces and the way the text runs all over the place can be jarring at first look, but once you’re in the book’s world, everything makes sense. The backward text, the crossed out text, even the upside down stuff. Thematically, it makes sense. If the book wasn’t written that way, it would not work as well as it does in this context.

Random House Webpage for the book

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One Response to “House of Leaves”

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