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 can make your way through this labyrinth, it's very well worth it.
The thing that struck me most about this book was the sheer atmosphere. To me, I know a book is good when it absorbs myself into it to the point where, even after I put the book down, my head lingers in the world it created. Danielewski's words and the way he arranges them truly creates a paranoid sense of foreboding and fear. His descriptions weave between surrealistic, stream-of-consciousness, near-Dadaist babble, journalistic notation, and non-of-the-above, but always he manages to make it seem believable. The events, locations, and characters of the story are all fascinating and engrossing.
But this is not a book for the lighthearted -- it's a mess of a text, one that can occupy you in it's implications and extensions for months and months on end (it's even got an appendix!). Some chapters seem windy and pointless (a long dissertation on the propagation of soundwaves, for instance), although in the end most everything has a place in the vast, post-text universe Danielewski has created. Totally engrossing, but also a challenge.
Recommended, but with caution.
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