Danielwiski keeps the reader hooked from the very start. He meticulously keeps several layers of narrative going simultaneously, developing each accordingly with one another, numerous parallels existing on all levels. The book could be characterized by digressions, a technique popular among post-modern writers, trying to replicate a stream of consciousness. A page seldom goes by without at least one footnote, to some obscure other writing, usually made up by Danielwiski himself.
The plot is the most compelling part of Danielwiski's debut novel. A young man comes across, the run down house of an old man, who just died a violent death. He comes across a book jammed with papers, loosely held together, later it would see the book came across him. He begins to work his way through the mess of papers, which he soon discovers is the old man, Zampano's analysis of The Navidson Record, which itself is a made up product. Here we see some of the mocking of critics that Danielwiski engages in throughout the novel. The over the top analysis of something that doesn't even exist, and then the endless footnotes to references that don't exist.
The Navidson Record revolves around an impossibility in the laws of physics; Navidson, a famous photo journalist, has a house whose dimensions are bigger on the inside than the outside. Navidson by curious nature explores the depths of the dark corridors of the endless house, trying to overcome and understand this impossibility.
Danielwiski's writing style is something that I've never come across before, he exercises his control over the page layout to convey certain feelings to the reader. At a moment of suspense and danger he'll only place one word on a page, making the reader rapidly turn the pages, eyes thirsting to know what is happening, just as the characters are in the novel itself. This sort of writing can be very engaging, I often found myself turning the book upside down, or running to a mirror in order to read the next paragraph. The writing itself is excellent, though difficult for me to characterize. It seems ordinary, his use of words isn't all that vast, and metaphors not too creative, but there is something in it that makes it very exceptional. Maybe he just makes it extraordinary, by only working with ordinary words and techniques, but develops them to such a degree that they become great. Either way, it was some of the most compelling and interesting writing I've ever come by and kept me rooted for hours at a time. This is a must read for anyone wanting a compelling plot.
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