Sunday, March 7, 2010
House of Leaves (ENGLISH. 2000) - BOOK
At first glance HOUSE OF LEAVES looks staggeringly difficult. It's at once an academic discourse on a documentary that doesn't exist, the diary of a hyper sexual young man that feels the world crumbling around him, and an asthethic experiment with the nature of the written word. Text dosen't exist on the page. It bounces around crazily at the whim of the drama or for the sole purpose of servicing a goofy in-joke.
THE HOUSE OF LEAVES is mostl made up of academic dissertation (With tons of fake footnoes) on a documentary called THE NAVIDSON TAPES, which is the document of a family that discovers another dimension (Bereft of life) in their new house. At the same time, a young man named Johnny Truant, writes a diary as he reads over the book and finds it's affecting his day to day life.
Once you get past the difficult stylistic presentation, you'll find House of Leaves an incredibly rewarding novel that is, at it's base, a mainstream supernatural thriller that just happens to be dressed up in fancy clothes. I actually found my interest shifting from the adventures of Johnny Truant, who uses a completely informal style, to the academic text, which is the adventures within the house. The Johnny Truant sections get lost in pretentious flowery prose that gets grating real fast and lead absolutely nowhere. The story of the house on the other hand, is much more self contained, and tells a complete story thrilling story. Your enjoyement factor will vary on what you expect to get out of a book.
I highly recommend it, even if in the end, it sometimes feels like someone showing off.
The book ends with a few hundred pages of Appendixes that don't further the narrative, but expand on it, which is fine and dandy, but feels superfluous (As do much of the stylistic tics)