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A Strange Trip To Insanity

  • Jun 25, 2010
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 deep and others feel contrived and meant to impress us, but both fit with Zampano's story. He had nothing left in the world but this piece. It shows, and you feel sorry for him. And now we are to story line number three, the false documentary. It is the story of Will Navidson, a famous photographer, who decides to film his family's move to a new house. But when he measures his hallway, it's slightly bigger on the inside. He tries to explain it, but no matter how or who measures it, the inside is always bigger than the outside. And it's growing. A new door shows up and leads to a never ending labyrinth of halls, staircases, and rooms.

The stories of Johnny, Zampano, and Will are all told at the same time, which can be confusing and frustrating at times. Johnny holds domain over the footnotes. Sometimes several pages long and sometimes starting in the middle of a sentence above. Zampano is descriptions and comments on the Navidson Report, which is Will's story. But while it is confusing at first, you realize that it makes complete sense as you get the feel of it. An event of Will's is commented on by Zampano, which has an affect on Johnny's life and fragile sanity.

Even the structure of the book reflects the events of the stories. As the characters become more and more paranoid and closer to cracking, the words on the page become unorganized. They take a non-linear path around the page, text boxes appear in the middle of a column, and some pages only have one to eight words.

I feel that no matter how I attempt to describe this novel, it will be severely lacking. Such an ambitious work packed so full of ideas and concepts and able to convey it much more visibly than text probably has a right to do so cannot be accurately described. It needs to be experienced.
A Strange Trip To Insanity A Strange Trip To Insanity A Strange Trip To Insanity A Strange Trip To Insanity

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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.
review by . August 07, 2010
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. …
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.
About the reviewer

Ranked #362
College student working part-time at a pizza place, how cliché right? Going for Marketing Communications and English with a Writing emphasis. In my free time I like to read, play games (both video … more
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