Title: House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
First Published: March 7, 2000
“We all create stories to protect ourselves.”
Guess who’s, back… Back again… Ali’s back… Tell a friend! *throws confetti in the air* YES people – I’m back from my summery social media break and we’ll start off with a rather extensive bookish rant! 🙂 YAY! Because what a way to ruin a fantastic story! Bravo! Round of applause!
The story is about Johnny Truant, who finds a manuscript in a dead man’s apartment called “The Navidson Record”, which essentially is a dissertation of a documentary of the same name. It’s about a man called Will Nadvison and his family and what happened to them living in a house that is bigger, and also really fucking dangerous, on the inside as it is on the outside. Hallways appear and doors open into a gigantic dark void. Johnny becomes obsessed with the story and slowly but violently descends into madness.
This book combines my two biggest fears, namely the fear of darkness and the complete lack of control that comes with it. Monsters lurking around you breathing on your neck and there is nothing you can do to defend yourself from them, because you have no idea where they are. You are completely helpless in the darkness. Being lost and helpless in the darkness with no idea where you are and what is in there with you in your own home, a place where you should supposedly feel safe, is just the icing on the creepy ass cake!
That being said – this book is irritating as fuck! How one can take such a brilliant story and turn it into something so frustratingly crappy is beyond me! The book is written by the fictional author Zampano (the aforementioned dead guy) and Johnny chimes in via the introduction and ENDLESS footnotes throughout the book that sometimes span pages! Imagine you’re reading the main story arc and get to a footnote in the middle of a sentence and in order to continue on with the story you need to read said footnote and then suddenly you’re reading pages and pages of a completely different story, which turns out to have nothing to do with the main story after all, and when you get back to rest of the sentence, which you read an entire chapter ago, you have no idea what the fuck is going on anymore. There are lots of other footnotes as well, not written by Johnny, like translations, citations and definitions, which I just ignored completely because they add absolutely NOTHING to the story.
And then there is the biggest problem of them all! The layout! Why? I mean really, why? Pages and pages are filled with nothing more than one line or sometimes even only one single word. This can span over entire chapters! Then there are parts where you have to turn your book upside down to be able to read the text or pages where some text is writing “normally” and then there is one passage that’s written sideways and one that’s upside down. It’s confusing as fuck!
I mean I can appreciate the “artistic” aspect of this and I understand that this was done to visualise the despair and confusion felt by Nadvison when he was trapped in the darkness, but I just don’t want to read entire fucking chapters consisting of one word pages and chapters where I have to turn my book in all directions under the sun.
The story would have been fantastic, but the frustrating layout and the constant interruptions of the text flow just completely ruined this book for me.
I missed you, lovely humans, and I hope you’re having a wonderful day!