Mean As Custard (calico_pye) wrote,
Mean As Custard

House of Leaves - Haitus

I wasn't able to do much reading yesterday, as life tends to get in the way - but I did catch up on a few pages. The narrator concentrates on the mental state of Holloway, who seems to be stumbling like a beleagured Ahab in search of a ficticious whale - but with more disasterous circumstances all round.   One line I really liked was the following; 'the creature Holloway hunts has already began to feed on him' (p.334). 'H' alliteration - breathing, sighing voiceless fricative - like Holloway is already doomed on some level.  Effective.

Best bit that I liked was the (ficticious) interviews from the 'What Some Have Thought' by Karen Green - which is prominent people's points of view re the film.

Hunter S. Thompson - Author: '"Lady, you need to lay off the acid, the mescaline or whatever you are snorting, inhaling, ingesting [...] I was so upset I even threw my friend's fishtank at their china cabinet [...] they threw me out. Do you think I could spend the night at your place?"'

David Copperfield - Magician: '"It looks like a trick but it's a trick that constantly convinces you that it is not a trick. A levitation without wires.  A hall of mirrors without mirror [...] A riddle"'

(Behind him, the Statue of Liberty disappears)

There is some specualtion that H and Navidson are more alike than you think; I would say that the only trait they share is the need to seek/ hunt for an outcome that would make them feel victorious (H = overcoming the beast and killing it; Navidson = lining up the best angles for that perfect photo shot).  I would say that H's disturbed state is more reflective of Truant's.  We learn that Holloway is dead, seeminly committing suicide after mistakenly shooting a fellow member of the house expedition.  The house effectively consumes him; seen by the best quote so far.

Quote of the (yester)Day:
(reflection after the house devours Holloway) ' the last thing heard is the sound [of] Holloway being ripped out of existance' (p.338).

The house, however, is amoving and the dimensions have gone from being merely contained down a hallway and a few changes in the house to actually folding in on itself within the physical dimensions of the home. Children are AWOL, saved by their stoner Uncle Tom, only to be consumed himself - another victim of the house's voracious appetite.

I still think that the house is a reflection of Karen's unconscious/psyche and that the house seems to nom-nom down on all the stereotypical males; e.g. hunter/gatherer, explorers, buddhists - even the 'Guy's Guy' Navidson himself.  Is this a woman's subjective narrative of the world made manifest? Is this a man's need to overcome obstacles and prove himself; Navidson/Holloway/Truant just modern-day Ahabs hunting down Moby Dick? Or just Truant's projected 'trip' where he can't separate fantasy from reality, and pharmaceutical delusions from his normal 'mentally unbalanced' state?

I believe there is a certain amount of playfulness and humour in this book, where you HAVE to participate.  At times, I felt like I wanted to scan and flip, but didn't because I wouldn't get the full experience.  I would also say that MZD is having a laugh at the expense of stuffy establishment boundaries.  Or as Steven Poole observes House of Leaves is ' a satire of academic criticism' and I am inclined to agree.

More tomorrow, when I have finished reading today.

Tags: house of leaves, mark z. danielewski, reading list 2016

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