House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

Title: House of Leaveshouse_of_leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Genre: Drama/Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 709
Category: 39. Read a book with pictures in it
Format: Paper

Date Started: March 5th 2017
Date Finished: April 1st 2017

Let me start off by saying this book is the biggest mindfuck I have ever read. It’s also ridiculously long, which may explain my lack of posts here lately. It’s not just long but dense and there’s a lot going on. For those who have never heard of House of Leaves, it’s not formatted like a regular book, others have suggested that it’s more of a performance, with mazes that are made real by the difficulty of finding what you should be reading next, and some pages written upside down or with very few words on the page. There are copious footnotes and multiple narratives as well as multiple narrators who it seems cannot be trusted.

When I finished the book I still wasn’t sure what had happened. I knew what I had read but I couldn’t tell you what was real and what wasn’t. There are many theories about this all over the internet, personally the ones that make the most sense to me are the ones which suggest the true narrator suffered some kind of mental illness whether that be Johnny’s mother, or Johnny himself. This seems to be supported by the similarity between many of the characters and the fact that their names often describe what they do or who they are (Johnny’s friend Lude is lewd for example).

There are also a few cases where the fourth wall is broken with references to House of Leaves (the book Navidson reads while trapped and the musicians that Johnny meets towards the end of the book).

Honestly, there were many times I was reading and just wishing the book was done because it was just so long, but at the same time I wanted to know what would happen next. Honestly though, for such a long book, not an awful lot did happen.

What I did really enjoy is the way that the author managed to incorporate so many narrators, so many styles, colours, page formatting and still include some semblance of a coherent story even if I’m not really sure how it all tied together. So if you’ve read House of Leaves tell me what you thought happened, who narrated it really? Was any of it real?

Rating: 3.5/5 stars