Blogging from A to Z – H for House of Leaves

April 9, 2018 Blog 8

Blogging from A to Z – H for House of LeavesHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Published by Random House on March 7th 2000
Genres: Horror, Mystery
Pages: 705
Source: Purchase
Goodreads
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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.

Reading Challenges: A to Z, Book Blog Discussion

Can you post every day except Sundays during this month?  And to up the bar, can you blog thematically from A to Z?

       Most of the time if you subtract Sundays from April, you then have 26 days–one day for each letter of the alphabet.  When April 1st lands on a Sunday you begin on that day which will be the only Sunday you would post during that month’s challenge.

More info can be found at Blogging from A to Z and the full list of bloggers is here!

 

  • “A” post   —  April 1, 2018 (No fooling! 😁 )
  •  After Challenge Survey  —  May 3, 2018
  • Reflections  —  May 7, 2018

My A to Z Challenge: H for House of Leaves

House of Leaves. This book is a labyrinth of clues from the beginning. It’s a tough read, but also a fun one! With 705 pages, the book itself could be a bit scary, just with the page count! Half of the fun in reading this, or horror for those that do not enjoy reading epistolary types of books, is figuring out where the next passage is going to take the reader.

What I find to be the most amazing and interesting aspect of this book, is how it’s written. The plot itself is interesting enough, but the way this is written is almost as if two books were put together. In the first we have the Navidson Files, the story about a house that is bigger on the inside than the outside. Running parallel with their story is the story of Zampano, who is collecting all the information and adding in his own references, and Johnny Truant, who gets the information Zampano was keeping when Zampano dies.

Easy enough so far, right!?

If you just read this as a story about the Navidson’s house and then take the references and footnotes and add those along to the house’s story, you get an idea of what is happening. A pretty straightforward plot about a house that seems more than what it really is, and the quest to find out what that more is.

Then there are more footnotes and Johnny Truant’s story. His story comes out more and more as he reads the information that Zampano has left behind. As the reader reads, we get to see what Johnny is seeing, but we also get to see his take on it, and how it is affecting Johnny’s life.

This is intriguing enough, but as Navidson explores his house, the text starts to go with Navidson, almost literally. If Navidson is upside down, so is the text. I had to quite literally flip the book over multiple times to be able to ensure that I understood exactly what was being written. In many occasions the text is upside down and backwards! This only happens after the story really starts getting good.

This is how most of the text for Truant reads. Long sentences, lots of text, lots of paragraphs. Few spaces anywhere. It gets worse as his story goes along, interestingly enough. The text just keeps coming out of him, and it’s almost like talking to someone, the way his story works. He’s telling it to the reader, one on one, and even says a few times, maybe you shouldn’t be reading this.

The reason it’s on this list is because there are some really horrific moments. Both for Navidson and for Truant. They have to go through a lot to figure out what is going on, and in the end, they have to come up with their own answers.

Which might frustrate readers. There is no definitive answer on what happened, or on why everyone who reads this document is affected. Not all negatively, but they all are affected in some way.

What is extraordinary is how much is in this. In the above picture is just one page with some references. Nearly every page has references, or some type of addition either by Zampano or Truant. The fonts change depending on who is giving that reference or that note. Looking up some of these references, I found that many of them were completely made up for the book. There are like 40 different books just made up for this book!

Much like the Never Ending Story, but with just the Nothing coming after you, but you don’t even know if the Nothing is a villain, or if it’s a part of your imagination, or if maybe, just maybe it’s something good. In reading this, I was actually left with a more spiritual feeling about both plots! From something that is supposed to be the most horrific story… go figure. I can’t even trust myself!

But, back to the reason it’s on this list. This book makes the authors and the reader do a little bit of inner soul searching. We all hate soul searching (well, I love it, but I’m weird, that’s already been established). Through these horrific moments, the authors learn about themselves. But they have to go through the moments, the horror, losing of family members, and of one’s own mind basically, to be able to come out the other end.

This also doesn’t end with a pretty conclusion. It’s left up in the air. It’s up to the authors to make their own ending. Which also means, it’s up to the reader to understand enough that there doesn’t have to be a box all wrapped up with a bow to be able to appreciate the story. Maybe that’s how we normally like it, but if that’s what you prefer, don’t read this. It’ll stay with you and keep you up at night. Not because of the horrifying moments, but because of the nothing that you are left with.

 

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

8 Responses to “Blogging from A to Z – H for House of Leaves”

  1. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I bought a copy of this last year (maybe the year before) and do plan on reading it someday. Like I mentioned on the Spring Into Horror page, I think I’ll save it for a vacation because if it’s going to take some time, I don’t want to keep stopping and starting.

    • Christina

      It took me two days, with only working part time. Two hours of work each day, and of course the pups never knowing if they want to go out or stay inside! It’s not exactly 715 pages. It says that but there’s so many references at the end. It may be around 50 pages or so. So, a good 635 pages for a crazy book. I loved it though. I think you’ll like it. But, don’t go in thinking it’s horror. It’s absolutely not. At least not for us horror fans.

  2. Ichabod Temperance

    I need to get another copy and finish that book. Several years ago, I read about 500 pages, but I got too weird-ed out to continue. Now I want to go back and finish.

    • Christina

      Sadly, there aren’t any real answers. But I’ve been thinking about it since I finished! If you go back, I’d love to talk about it and see what you think. It’s strange, for sure, but it gets better.

  3. Su-sieee! Mac

    Because I scare easily, I don’t read horror books, even when the story sounds quite interesting. This one does. No ending intrigues me, but then life is that way.

    • Christina

      I know this is set in the horror genre, but if you’re thinking about dipping your toe in, I think this would be a great book! There truly are only a few horrific moments. And, I’d call them more suspenseful and strange. But, that’s coming from someone that watches and reads horror all the time. So, you may want to borrow the book and see what you think 😀

  4. chucklesthescot

    I don’t think I’d enjoy all the weird format stuff as I like to just read a straight story without all the extra stuff. I hate footnotes! Sounds like you enjoyed it though which is good.

    • Christina

      I’m surprised how many people hate that format. Those footnotes were crazy! They would take me down a few pages and I had to find my way back! After talking about Illuminae I talked with quite a few that hate reading books like that. I’m curious what they do with the audio version. I may get the hubster the audio for Illuminae and see if that makes any sense at all. No footnotes for Illuminae at least!

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