House of Leaves

Just “finished” House of Leaves.

If you don’t know it, it’s a novel that plays with the basic form of the novel itself.  The word “house” is blue wherever it appears.  There are footnotes, and footnotes in footnotes, on every page (most of which are completely useless).  Sometimes there are sections of text in boxes, backwards, upside down… whole pages left nearly blank.

The take on the form was very interesting to experience.  There was a lot of flipping back and forth between pages, a lot of manhandling the large book all around to read the different planes the text was on.

The pacing of some segments was manipulated entirely by having the text on the page a certain way.

I’ve never before uttered a shocked explanation out loud at a book, and then read the exact thing I had just said out loud, on the page in front of me.  It was typed out exactly as I had said it.  That was spooky.  I put the book down.  I stared at it.  That was some Never Ending Story stuff right there.

So it was a unique experience, I’ll give it that.  Quite a refreshing thing, to see the age-old text-on-paper get a makeover.

But, I cannot say I enjoyed it.  I skipped over vast swaths of the B story line.  I just didn’t care, and wanted to get back to the much more interesting Navidson account.  Vast swaths of even that had to be skipped over though; the readable/bullshit ratio was way high for this book.  I would have stopped early on (as had the previous person who’d taken this copy out from the library- their hold slip [their bookmark] was wedged into the spine at page 71), but the form of the novel was too compelling to ignore.

So I skimmed.  I’ve never skimmed a novel before.  I feel… kind of gross.  Like that was bad and I should feel bad for doing it.  But damnit I wanted to see what was up with that weird blue box of text, the nearly-blank pages, the text scattered all over the page.

In conclusion, House of Leaves was neat, but frustrating.  I wish I had figured out what I wanted out of it sooner; would have saved me some time.

Tonight: Godzilla.  Next Week: the second half of my novel revisions.  (It’s going well!)

Cheers.

Heidi out.

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