“This is not for you.”
What is this book about?
House of Leaves has several stories working at the same time. At its core it is a story about the house of photojournalist Will Navidson and his family. They recently moved to Virginia into a house that has some trouble staying as it is. A room appears one day, after they have left for a short trip and from there on the house starts expanding into strange hallways and dark corridors that are unlike anything else in this world. The second layer of the story is The Navidson Record, a book about this strange house and the film Will Navidson made about this. Someone called Zampanò, an old blind man living somewhere in LA, wrote this down while slowly turning mad. Then finally we follow Johnny Truant, who introduces the book to us and who has edited the whole thing. He found Zampanò’s manuscript and gets completely enveloped in the story of the house and can’t let it go until he finishes his work.
Why is it boring?
It’s a long book! You will read 700+ pages of which some are filled with really long explanations about the origin of the word echo or slog through footnotes which exist of a long list of buildings. And trust me, there are a lot of footnotes in this baby…
Who would you recommend it to?
This book is not for the fainthearted, firstly because of the effort it asks of you as a reader. Big parts of The Navidson Record are edited in strange ways, footnotes are placed upside down or in small squares that continue through about 10 pages. While reading you will have to turn the book around several times, just to see what the words say and yes, some of it is even written in mirror-image. So keep a mirror at hand while you start this one. Then secondly, this book is pretty darn spoopy! The house expands into what seems like infinity and something roams those hallways that you will not want to encounter…
Why should I read it if it’s boring?!
Because it’s awesome. I love a challenge while reading and this book will definitely throw you some curve balls. The book is written in at least three different fonts, all showing the different narrators and the footnotes can go on for pages. Especially chapter IX messed with my brain as it has footnotes that constantly reference each other and will send you reading in circles, constantly coming back to the start. House of Leaves can be exhausting at times, but to me it was so worth it. Reading the chilling parts describing Navidson’s film about his house and how it completely fucks with his family kept me reading until late in the night and then made me too scared to actually go to sleep. I’m scared pretty easily, so to me this book was the equivalent of haunted house movie. But even if you have never been afraid of the dark, the parts where Johnny descends into madness while working on the manuscript should send some shivers down your spine. The book is highly intriguing, not just because of the mysterious plot, but also because of it’s cult following and insane design. The story is put together really well and I guarantee you will find yourself browsing weird online forums surrounding the book just to make sense of it all. So many questions are still unanswered and as Truant already warns you at the start, this book will not let you go.