Mean As Custard (calico_pye) wrote,
Mean As Custard

House of Leaves - First Few Chapters

Johnny Truant (House of Leaves)
Before I start, it has to be said that it can be quite a challenging read; mostly because of the nature of the layouts, fonts and different writing styles - amongst other things.  Plus, rather than try to retell the story, it would be better if I posted the link to the House of Leaves story and the link to Mark Z.Danielewski's site.

There will be additional links embedded within my post.

Disclaimer::: I know there are many House of Leaves fans out there that will know the book inside out - please have patience with me, I have only just begun.

House Of Leaves
Part of the challenge is to keep this story together, as there are many narrators, both unreliable and intertwined; also the footnotes (both Zampano's, Truant's et al.) can be difficult to unravel too. It is advisable to read the book with as fewer distractions as possible, plus I suggest maybe a bookstand, as it is 600 pages long and about A4.5 in size (for 'novel', read 'baby-style-old-school-telephone-directory').

Johnny Truant's narrative is peppered with listing, doubling/trebling and continually slides into a second person retrospective.  Short sentences in old fashion type font, then long rambling sentences that would give James Joyce a run for his money (see pages 48 and 72).  Is he deliquent, complex or a complex deliquent? Zampano's observations are largely third person, present tense (as you would when discussing a film in real time) and the whole lot is stitched together via footnotes and ramblings etc.

Truant is seeming trying to decipher (or merely make sense) of an academic piece of the late Zampano's; namely a already-speculative docu-film The Navidson Record. Z himself ponders a lot on the camera angles of the film (very MTV fly-on-the-wall) and whether Navidson's partner Karen is a slut or not.  Plus the dimesions are a changing for the house of Ash Tree Lane and it all becomes a bit 'boy's own club', (though I draw the line at hearing re the eczema rash between Navidson's toes - too much info), where they are vaguely bonding, exchanging spirit levels/shiny metal rules to figure how the house has seemingly 'changed' in size.

This is where it gets a little difficult; it is meshed with Truant's burblings about his obsession with stripper 'Thumper', his 'shroom and powder visions and, like the dead Zampano before him, his increasing paranoid and the same need to caulk his windows in. Still, I like Truant's observation about his own gushings; that you would have to have a 'heart like a TV dinner' if you couldn't identify with his pangs.

Eventually, along with the 'extra dimesions' that evolve; there appears to be a 'Five and a Half Minute' Hallway and wondered if this was getting a bit X-Files/Twilight Zone for me.

The irony of all ironies, is that I was approaching the novel in the very same way that Truant tries to unravel Zampano's work.  I read, drop son at station. I read - realising that my brain has fogged over and then briefly watches Time Team and their discovery of a series of small walls.  Resume reading, private wondering whether I understand it, whether MZD is a great author, or a gabbling loon etc.(I veer towards the 'great author' point of view - even if his protagonist Truant uses the modifier 'maybe' too often; it IS part of his character). Disrupted by texts, emails, hubby revising for exam. Resume reading.  Rinse and repeat.

I hit page 80 yesterday - today, I will resume.
Tags: house of leaves, mark z. danielewski, reading list 2016

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