Sunday, March 20, 2016

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Title: House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Pages: 736
Published: March 7th 2000 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 
Source: Library
Links: goodreads , Mark Z. Danielewski Website

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children. Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices. The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.
Let's be honest. This is a hard book to review. Now that I think about it, it's a hard book to read. There were several parts where I wanted to give up.  Footnotes upon footnotes upon footnotes.  I'm glad I stuck it out though. I've heard a lot of things about House of Leaves being a great book for odd formatting and that really is true. It's the main reason why I picked it for a book for the #weirdathon I'm participating in.  It was perfect I even saw some other people reading it for the #weirdathon.

Ok.. how to start.  Let me start with a picture I took of the book so you can see what I am talking about with the way the words are laid out.  Let this mess with your mind:

This was the section where I started to get a little discouraged and even had a headache!  You have to hold this hefty book at different angles, look all around for the text you need to read next lead around by a bunch of footnotes.  Maybe I should tell you about the book itself right?  The formatting I suppose gets a little in the way of the plot. This book is difficult.  Don't read it if you want some sort of easy read that just walks you through the book.   House of Leaves is about a House that is fairly odd.  The inside of the House is larger then the outside.  This really gets the owners of the house, their family and friends all kinds of crazy so they get obsessed with investigating it.  The film these investigations and record everything that happens.  The film is called The Navidson Record. The film goes viral and eventually is shown in the theaters.

There is a blind man named Zampano who tries to go through every thing that is available to him to prove whether or not the film is real or if it was all a hoax. He goes through tons of information writing it all down. Zampano dies before he finishes this work, which ends up in the possession of his neighbor's friend Johnny Truant. So Truant then finds himself trying to finish Zampano's work.  He gets sucked in, haunted by what he is discovering about this house. Truant starts to go a little crazy while compiling the finished product. As you read along The Navidson Record you read Truant's story in the footnotes on the pages.

What I like about this book is that different people will read it differently, perhaps in a different order. I personally read it page by page, where you might read just the footnotes, or even go and read future chapters that the footnotes make reference to.  I chose to not do that so I didn't get spoiled. There are a lot codes and symbols that were fun to look up while traveling through the house part of the book.  There are ground to air symbols that you should look up while reading.  I'm glad i found that out before I started.

I will say I was unsatisfied with the ending. Perhaps with horror books I like Stephen King endings where he leaves it up in the air for us to figure out.  There was a point to me where the book should've just ended.  But it kept going.  Leaving some character's stories finished and others just confusing.  I was a little bothered about how the House was handled by the owners too.  I know if I found some weird closet that became some crazy puzzling scary place I would leave the house pronto.  Of course the family stays in the house and does what no sane person would.

I feel like I could talk about this book on and on.  But I really don't want to spoil it.  While I was really disappointed in the end it was still a neat journey.  A tough journey, but that makes me proud that I finished this book.  It's no wonder House of Leaves has such a cult following.  If you chose to read... enjoy the ride.

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