Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This book begins simply:
This isn't for you.
No, it's not Halloween. But if you're a fan of scary movies, without the blood and the gore and the guy with chainsaw running down the hall after the girl that you've spent the last five minutes yelling at for taking the wrong turn -

This book isn't for you. This book, however, is for those of us who enjoy scary movies but like to be terrified properly. Let's be real here, if you're going to go to see a scary movie then it's got to be done right.

Mark Danielewski's book is of an entirely different caliber, however. This isn't the book that you want to read home alone or by yourself in the dark of your room (particularly when your room has no windows - not a good idea, guys) and this isn't a book for someone who gets lost a lot ... everywhere.

What's utterly brilliant about House of Leaves is that it takes the concept of space, how we know space and how we try to create and change it. It asks this question: what can you do if the space is alive and unwilling to change at all. The novel is a dizzying read with passages that are littered with footnotes and columns that go up and down, forwards and backwards. But if you're a fan, this is the book for you. Here's an excerpt:
"To get a better idea try this: focus on these words, and whatever you do don't let your eyes wander past the perimeter of this page. Now imagine just beyond your peripheral vision, maybe behind you, maybe to the side of you, maybe even in front of you, but right where you can't see it, something is quietly closing in on you, so quiet in fact you can only hear it as silence. Find those pockets without sound. That's where it is. Right at this moment. But don't look. Keep your eyes here. Now take a deep breath. Go ahead, take an even deeper one. Only this time as you exhale try to imagine how fast it will happen, how hard it's gonna hit you, how many times it will stab your jugular with its teeth or are they nails?, don't worry, that particular detail doesn't matter, because before you have time to process that you should be moving, you should be running, you should at the very least be flinging up your arms-you sure as hell should be getting rid of this book-you won't have time to even scream.
Don't look.
I didn't.
Of course I looked.
I looked so fucking fast I should of ended up wearing one of those neck braces for whiplash."

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