Szplug's Reviews > House of Leaves

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
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Apr 18, 12

I understand the entire conceit of mocking the turgid, pretentious, and absurdly obfuscating styling of postmodern academia, replete with footnotes sufficient to populate a Mongol horde; I appreciate the creativity towards, and playing around with, aspects of typography and color and kerning and textual direction; I can fathom the juxtaposition of the intricate and necessary edificial entries of the Navidson exploration with the jejune, supernumerary mouthwash rinse of a boastful free rider; and I can certainly align myself to the clever, crafty, and circumnavigational maze-wending that leads the diligent and patient reader towards the shuttered-space, Don't mind if I do! revelatory stoppage of this original work; with all of that said, I was less than thrilled with how Danielewski opted to wind things up, I was thoroughly exasperated by the vacant trilling of Johnny Truant, and I felt little vindication at the end for having staved off the whispering urge to abandon ship and move on to something less irksome. Sprinkled though it be with patches of brilliance, scenes that truly unnerve, and the textual blossoms of a creative mind allowed free reign to bring its vision to fruition, my final verdict upon House of Leaves would be a noncommittal shrug. Two-and-a-shaky-half of stars (get up there, lil' fella, go on), rounded up in recognition of the effort put into this experimental labour of referential love.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Puma You're a better man than I. Started and abandoned several years back. That said, I have always felt the need to get back to it at some point. We'll see.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio This is a book that I think I missed my chance to enjoy. Would've been better suited for my stoned 15-18 year old mind. A few years ago I flipped through his more recent book Only Revolutions, and basically chuckled and resnarked 'Yeah, I'm never going to read any of this nonsense.' Perhaps an unfair call, but all the upside down text and font-changing seems like an obvious cry of 'I have nothing of substance to offer!'

Moira Russell Truant nearly wrecks the book, yeah.

message 4: by Szplug (last edited Mar 08, 2012 12:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Szplug I actually had to make two attempts to get through this. Truant's part was terribly executed, IMO. Perhaps it suffered the more from having been read shortly after Infinite Jest, in that DFW schooled Danielewski in the appropriate usage of footnotes as an entertaining, mocking, meta-textual, and informational element. The font-wonkery was inspired at times, a blast at certain parts, but, eventually, a rather tiresome trick.

message 5: by s.penkevich (new) - added it

s.penkevich Joshua Nomen-Mutatio wrote: "This is a book that I think I missed my chance to enjoy. Would've been better suited for my stoned 15-18 year old mind. A few years ago I flipped through his more recent book Only Revolutions, and ..."

I agree entirely with the first two sentences there ha. THis is sitting on my shelf unread and I usually pass it over because I feel like that side of me became a bit too domesticated and run through the lit-major wringer to appreciate it like the author intends. I'll read it eventually, good to see that I should read it before reading any DFW.

Szplug You are a douchebag

That's right. Book was still only so-so.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Chris, you are 70 billion times better in every way to a douche bag. And you get waaaaaaaaaaaay more pussy, too.

Szplug No, I'm pretty douchey.

But you are right about the pussy. YEE-HAW!

Szplug Keogh? Is that you?

It might have been.

Szplug Ever since Mysanthropod nuked his account, it's taken on the appearance that I called myself a douchebag (which would be entirely reasonable), that Jeff blinked or winked for the general public, and then began talking to a ghost named Keogh about whom I might have been in the possession of some sort of knowledge.

Considering the book this has all taken place under, I find that highly fitting.

message 11: by Roger (new)

Roger Jones The last five lines of this review are all you need to read. Trust me...

Szplug Marvelously indeterminate, Roger. I tip my hat to you.

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