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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » House of Leaves » User review

A Real Page Turner! but which way?

  • Aug 7, 2010
Rating:
+3

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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More House of Leaves reviews
review by . June 25, 2010
A Strange Trip To Insanity
This is one of the best novels I have ever read and my favorite.      House of Leaves has three interwoven stories. We start with Johnny Truant. He is a drug addict and son of a mentally ill woman. When Zampano, a man that lives on the ground floor, dies mysteriously, Johnny inherits his scholarly work-in-progress piece on a false documentary. Cue story line two. Zampano is clearly obsessed by the false video and picks it apart. Some of the comparisons and revelations are extremely …
review by . December 10, 2010
   Okay, so I’m feeling a little guilty about bailing on this 660+ page beast of a book because I was the instigator of the “hey, let’s read it together” conversation that led to getting Jenn and Jill on board, and poor Jill actually finished the book! But not guilty enough to keep going. I’m a serious subscriber to Nancy Pearl’s “Rule of 50,” and I generally make no bones about stepping away from a book that just isn’t doing it for …
review by . June 23, 2010
You got a deathwish, Truant?
The only way I can describe reading this book is as a mixture of fascination and terror. Danielewski writes Johnny Truant's narrative so personally that reading his asides and musings cause you to sympathize with his fear and confusion. On the other hand, Zampano's take on The Navidson Record is at times so profound I had to stop and re-read a chapter to really study his words. Though the author often uses the book to illustrate a pseudophilosophy, there are moments in House of Leaves that …
review by . July 02, 2010
To put it quite simply: this book is a doozy.      Those who are stuck in the old era of strictly linear narratives may run away in fear now. House of Leaves is a large tome, with multiple, parallel narratives (Zampiano, J. Truant, and the house itself/those who inhabit the house.. not to mention many others), non-traditional format (typography and arrangement, here, is used as a sort of concrete poetry to echo the events of the story), and non-traditional forms. But, if you …
Quick Tip by . August 09, 2010
I can't tell, I skipped over about two thirds of this one - half the narrators were annoying and unreadable.
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
Really the only thing interesting about this book is the way it was constructed. In my opinion the story was not very compelling.
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Member Since: Aug 7, 2010
Last Login: Aug 7, 2010 05:30 PM UTC
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