Imagine if Double Indemnity was directed by a drug induced Chuck Jones. This somewhat describes Francesca Ghermandi's nightmarishly strange and confus...moreImagine if Double Indemnity was directed by a drug induced Chuck Jones. This somewhat describes Francesca Ghermandi's nightmarishly strange and confusing noir thriller. Told through many different perspectives, The Wipeout, is given an experimental feel to maximize the protagonists isolation and confusion. The plot is incomprehensible, but it only adds to the out of control momentum that drives this book on a roller coaster track to limbo.(less)
Just flipping through the pages of House of Leaves is overwhelming. Mark Z. Danielewski tells an incredibly self-indulgent, and unoriginal story(rip o...moreJust flipping through the pages of House of Leaves is overwhelming. Mark Z. Danielewski tells an incredibly self-indulgent, and unoriginal story(rip off of Borges(Death and the Compass(among others) and The Avengers (The House that Jack Built)). In one narrative, The Navidson Record, Danielewski tells rather than shows, putting an enormous gap between the story and the reader. The characters are vastly undeveloped when the plot is all about the human psyche. The other narrative is a plot-less diary all about an unremarkable poser having sex with babes(This is incredibly tedious, and I often found myself skipping large portions of text.) With this negative view of the book, it might seem strange that I rated it three stars. Those three stars are entirely dedicated to the brilliant technical design of the book, created to perplex and confound the diligent reader. If you don't end up reading House of Leaves, it's worth just taking a look at the unique composition with lines crossed out, words scrubbing every cranny of the page, and some pages with almost no words at all. If you're not up for the formidable challenge of reading House of Leaves, read some Borges, watch some Avengers episodes and you'll be just as fulfilled. (less)
There are two responses to the Illuminatus! trilogy. You either really love it or totally abhor it. The people who love it say it changed their whole...moreThere are two responses to the Illuminatus! trilogy. You either really love it or totally abhor it. The people who love it say it changed their whole way of thinking. They say that this series opened the door to a philosophical journey. The people who hate this book say that it's just a bunch of of nostalgic hippie hooey. I think it's somewhere between these two polar opposites. There is no plot. The characters are thinner than the pulp paper the book is printed on. There are misogynistic depictions of sex. The story switches perspective about every two pages without relevance. These details certainly seem like aspects of some drug-induced late sixties drivel, but don't be mislead, there are some really interesting conspiracy ideas hiding in the boorish, self indulgent text. The complex interconnectedness of the multiple secret societies and head-scratching numerology are interesting concepts, but the tiring silliness and unconventional format keep this from being a fun read.
For those who have hated the first 20 pages and think it's going to get better around page 70- STOP WHILE YOU'RE AHEAD, read Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 or Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. There are great conspiracy novels. This is not one of them.(less)
When I picked up House of Leaves a couple months ago, I expected it to be complex and mystifying fully realizing the labyrinth described. This book li...moreWhen I picked up House of Leaves a couple months ago, I expected it to be complex and mystifying fully realizing the labyrinth described. This book lives up to be everything that House of Leaves failed at. The format of this book is unconventional: scenes and narrators switch back and forth from one another within paragraphs and the whole story is spat out in a stream of consciousness style. Each story within the story is a piece of a vast and intricate puzzle concerning the police's mysterious ties with an underground organization that ritually murders young girls. Also thrown into the mix is a sinister doctor with a dream emulator and some rather hush-hush goings on at an opera house. Unfortunately, the avante garde format can be maddening at times and might throw some readers off, but those who stay will be richly rewarded. I would imagine this novel deserves many re-readings.