Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Review

House of LeavesHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I fell in love with this book right away, as I tend to err toward darker undertones in fiction and writing. Reading it is a challenge, on account of the format and structure of the novel, but I love the playfulness and unconventionality that the author used to create a feeling of confusion and erudite profundity. It took me at least three days to read a whole chapter because of all the footnotes! Footnotes inside of footnotes inside of footnotes. It's like a literary scavenger hunt.

I really liked that aspect of this's not an easy read and its not for everyone, but if you can get through it, you definitely feel a sense of accomplishment. As a writer, I appreciate the skill it takes to craft an experimental novel such as this. The house in the novel itself is unusual and disorienting, and Danielewski is so adept at using his writing to make the reader feel just so as well. The text, at times, with its format and structure, mimics the feelings and situations of the characters in the book. Danielewski is SO good at this.

This novel is dark. It's unsettling in a way that you can't understand unless you read it. It's not a horror novel; it's not graphic in a scary way, but this book IS scary. When I read this book, I lived alone and had a hard time reading it in bed at night. Its difficult to describe, but this book just gave me the willies.

The plot is centered around a man who moves his family into a house and one day discovers that the inside of the house is actually "bigger" than the outside of the house. From there, his obsession with the house and downward spiral into the depths of the house overtake his life, his family, his sanity.

House of Leaves made me feel both claustrophobic and agoraphobic; yet compelled to keep reading. The author taps into that place in each of us that is still afraid of the dark and things that go bump in the night without ever having to "show" any of these conventionally "scary" things and concepts.

I was so impressed by this book, even when I couldn't follow the plot. It took a lot of patience to read each chapter, but was worth it. The author is a master of ergodic literature, pushing his reader to focus and really dig into the actual text, each word, in order to grasp one page after the next.

It has also been said that even the title, "House of Leaves", suggests that "leaves" is a synonym for "pages", thus making the "house" a book. You can't see the whole tree without studying each individual leaf.

Incredibly interesting, wholly challenging, and unsettingly mysterious.

I loved it.

View all my reviews >>


houses for sale philippines said...

Love it too. Keep posting. Your post/article really interesting.

Paula M