Tuesday, September 29, 2009

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski, pg 89 + some footnotes and appendices

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I just began an epic journey called House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. This is a 700+ page book filled with footnotes, appendices, and other labyrinths of typography. I look at this book as a challenge, a mountain to conquer. I spoken with several friends who have read it, loved it, recommended it, but told me not to expect to finish it for at least three months. Yikes! And I pride myself on usually reading one or more novels per week. I began this voyage on September 20.

Johnny Truant, a tattoo artist’s apprentice and a general good-natured flunky, stumbles across a manuscript written by the recently deceased Zampano about a video filmed by Will Navidson. Navidson’s documentary is about his house, which he’s discovered to be bigger on the inside than the outside – like the Tardis or Mary Poppins’ handbag. The main text is Zampano’s manuscript, which is littered with footnotes written by Johnny.

So far, I'm enjoying the mystery. Not so much the 'why is Navidson’s house so weird' mystery, but the mystery in the style of Danielewski’s writing. Normally I don’t like to try this hard to enjoy a story. It’s very interactive with all of the footnotes/appendices, which is sometimes fun, but the interactivity kind of destroys my momentum. I'm not a reader who always looks for a “page-turner” but I do expect to build some kind of momentum when I read. I like to get lost in a book. I am getting lost in this book, but not in the same way.

I was most interested in this book when I found out that Mark Danielewski’s sister is Ann Danielewski, also known as Poe. Her second album Haunted inspired/is inspired by her brother’s book. She describes Haunted and House of Leaves as “parallax views” of the same story. There are also references to her first album, Hello, in House of Leaves.

This above video for “Hey Pretty” by Poe. Mark Danielewski reads from his book on this video. Worth a look.

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