House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

26 posts in this topic

This is legitimately one of the best books I've ever read. I honestly didn't find it scary at all, though, and I'm always surprised when I see people who were scared by it. It didn't seem like much of a horror novel to me. More like an experimental literary fiction tour de force masquerading as a horror novel. I liked how he played with the idea of a documentary, complete with academic commentary on that documentary with in depth footnotes, while all the time even our fictional narrator acknowledges that it's not a real documentary. A fictional documentary that's not trying to be funny (mockumentary) but instead trying to be so detailed that it unnerves you with how real it feels and seems is...quite something. Powerful concept. And he completely inverts that at the end when the documentary breaks the fourth wall into johnny's world, which cascades into breaking the fourth wall of our world. And then there's the parallels between johnny truant's life and danielewski's that make you wonder, how much of that is coming from a real place? Are those letters from johnny's mom the exaggerated way danielewski saw his own mentally ill mother at some point in his younger days? Johnny is also a bit of an unreliable narrator which is always fun. God, this book is so good. It's hard to even talk about it, though. I feel like I need two cups of coffee and an hour of quiet time just to gather my thoughts on it. 

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