I DID IT! I somehow got through this book despite being scared as fuck to read it at night, but i pulled through and DID IT!
House of Leaves is a total mind fuck. It several stories in one. The main one being around Karen Green & Will Navidson moving into a house that is bigger inside than it is outside. It causes additional strain on their marriage and they are documenting the strange addition to their house as Navidson and a team of men go explore the darkness. Except this is actually a movie, that isn’t real and created by an older blind man, Zampanò in his book that is analyzing the Navidson movie. He does into great detail to make the movie seem like it actually existed, he uses a mixture of real sources and made up ones (including fake interviews with Stephen King) to pull this off. Except Zampano is dead and his work got into the hands of Johnny Truant who decides to edit and add his own notes about his life and his findings. His life spins out of control and he’s wondering if its happening because of the book. Confusing right? But it’s not! The notations and fonts really keep you on track of what is happening to who. I don’t think there was a moment where I was confused.
The book is fucking scary, but it’s also about relationships, the main one being the relationship between Karen Green and Will Navidson (husband & wife), the strain before the house, the additional problems because of the house and then eventually clarity that leads to repairing their bond. The other focus is on what the hell is going in the house, why is there this never ending room that expands and shrinks, multiple theories are thrown out there, but then you remember this is a novel about a novel about a fake movie that is being edited and the editor is also wondering is this somehow a real house and movie and is it making him crazy. He is not a reliable character at all and that just adds to it. Ultimately the ending is up in the air, the reader is left to make their own conclusions about Navidson’s house and Johnny (which is actually expected given some of the things said about the hallway, some people have to know and become obsess, while others can walk away from it and not care they don’t know the reason for it).
No doubt House of Leaves is intimidating, it is a long book and sounds complicated, but the layout of the book actually makes it shorter (many pages only have a few words), a good 200 or so pages are not part of the plot, but made up of index, exhibits and 2 appendixes. As for complicated, as I said I never felt confused about what was going on and was able to keep track. Mark Z. Danielewski is just a fantastic writer I guess, because I cannot believe he wrote something so in depth that was still easy to follow. It sucks you in, it plays with your mind and spits you out. Just amazing.