Mean As Custard (calico_pye) wrote,
Mean As Custard
calico_pye

House of Leaves - Final Review


House of Leaves has been an absolute behemoth of a book, which has been both a most challenging, but rewarding read. I HAVE wondered how on earth MZD managed to get it in print, because most people wouldn't have given it house room - let alone publishers, who can be the most picky bunch at the best of times. I admire Mark Z. Danielewski's writing style and how he is able to hold these very different narratives together without spilling a drop.  It is metafiction at its very best; the font style and angles makes the reader a participator, a contract that ensures a deeper empathy with the characters, thus making HoL a very visceral experience - a perfect example of ergodic literature.

Many questions posed, many answers ambivalent, mostly the understanding is in the eye of the beholder. Steven Poole from The Guardian believes that MZD has built a 'scholarly-Gothic fiction around a non-existent film'. It is gloriously postmodern, undeniably satirical, but I would hesitate to use the horror genre; more 'terror' - where fear is internalised and thoughts are hypothesised. Unexpectedly, it is also about profound love - whether you consider it as Navidson/Karen, Zapano/Pelafina or Truant and his mother.

Clifford Lee Sargent appreciates it's bizarreness - "It is like Lewis Carroll threw everything out of the window and took a nice cocktail of crystal meth and DMT". I would hasten to add that if he did, he dragged Moby Dick, Ahab, Jonah et al with him.

Even though I am glad that I had set this challenge, I am also pleased that it is over - it has proved to me that if I can read this text, then I can pretty well read anything that is put in front of me. I would give it 4.5 stars and it will most definitely be in my all-time top 10 books.

PS - For some reason, the book as made me appreciate and understand Fiona Banner now.
Tags: house of leaves, mark z. danielewski, reading list 2016
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