If You Read One Book This Halloween, It Should Be This One29.10.14
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski House of Leaves focuses on a young family that moves into a new home where they discover the h...
House of Leaves focuses on a young family that moves into a new home where they discover the house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside; a house that is shrouded in darkness with an ever-growing abyss growing in its depths.
Will Navidson, husband, father, and photojournalist, moves into the house with his wife Karen and their two children hoping to repair their marriage. He sets up cameras in each of the rooms to record, as a keepsake, family life in the new house. One day Will discovers the building is three quarters of an inch longer on the inside than on the outside and a dark and icy 10-foot hallway is found within. The Navidson Record becomes a documentary in which Will and his friends explore the inexplicable space, which starts shifting and rearranging itself, roaring as it expands into a terrifying vast expanse of darkness. The house becomes home to a maze of obscurity, confusion, and fear.
House of Leaves is unconventional in its structure with a peculiar writing format, page layout, and text that changes and shifts as much as the story. The novel provides distinct differences between each of its multiple narrators who cross paths and elaborate on the story in incredibly disorientating ways. But most disorientating of all is how multi-layered the narrative is, playing with the reality of not only the characters but the reader. Some pages contain a few words or a couple of lines; the writing mirrors the events of the story, requiring the reader to turn not only the pages but the actual book to read its contents; the footnotes refer to books, films, and articles implying they are - rather convincingly - fact rather than fiction, and the ultimate effect is one of claustrophobia, disorientation, fear and anxiety.
House of Leaves fully immerses you into its pages, it's exhausting to read, and extremely clever. It's a horrifyingly creepy story that convinces you it could be true; it's a love story; it's full of puzzles and codes and ciphers, and it's a unique reading experience that only a physical book can provide. But you have to commit, let it creep into your mind, let it live in you for a while, and, even though you'll be scared and frightened, trust that you'll reach the end of that hallway and everything will be OK.