Oct 012007

I write all weekend and somehow manage to have nothing for Monday. Do you feel better knowing I am over the halfway point of my epic Halloween story? No? Okay, that’s fair. You want content, not progress reports on things you can’t read yet.

What I can offer you is the wonderful ‘House of Leaves’ by Mark Danielewski. This monster of a brain reformatter might just be one of my top five favorite books. It makes me feel lazy as a writer and that is a good thing.

This book has so many levels it reminds me of an archeology dig. The first layer is about a tattoo artist who discovers a chest belonging to a recently deceased old man. The chest contains fragments of a book the old man was writing. Well, more like dictating because the old man was blind. Anyway, the book is about a fictional documentary concerning one fucked up weird house, and the family that tries to figure it out.

So follow me here: it is about a tattoo artist, putting together the notes of a blind man, about a film that never really existed. Part of the delight of the book is that the blind man treats it less like a fictional narrative and more like a critical work. So the book about a documentary is crammed with footnotes from fictional people trying to figure out what the house and its inhabitants were up to. When things that happened in the documentary start happening to the tattoo artist, then things go a bit surreal.

One thing I want to stress about this book is that unlike some confusing works, I never felt like this book was being obscure for the sake of being cool. It was actually very easy to follow and understand, it just takes a rather involved mental commitment to piece it all together. I finished the book last night but I suspect no one actually finishes a book like this. More like they put it down for awhile before returning to it.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It is crammed with sex, terror, darkness and language. It will spoil you, like all good books should.

  One Response to “House of Leaves”

  1. Oh man – I read House of Leaves last year over a few weeks (a book will usually take me one-four days), and it fucked with my head in the biggest way!

    I’ll never read it again, but I’m damned glad I did read it, if that makes sense.

    xx Dee

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