I’m going to brief about this as I’ve been working on a long piece regarding Mark Z. Danielewski’s 1999 novel for what seems like forever now. Hell, my Master’s project was about House of Leaves. It is, I feel, one of the most important books published in the last 20 years. But this is something I recognize now, having spent years absorbing the book. Back when I first bought it, it was simply this new horror book I kept hearing about. I had read a review about it in USA Today when I was visiting Houston, and when my plane landed in Buffalo a few days later, the first thing I did after checking into my hotel room was go to the bookstore to buy this book. It completely fucked up my week. And a lot of it had to do with the fact that I ended up reading it three times in a row. The only book I’ve ever done that with.
To put it simply, House of Leaves tells the story of Will Navidson, a famous photographer, who moves into an undisclosed house with his partner Karen Green and their two children. It is discovered that the house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, with doors appearing where there were none before, revealing unlit hallways and passageways that appear to go on forever. With the help of his brother and colleagues, Navidson decides to explore the newly discovered interior of the house. And then it all goes to hell.
If you pick up a copy of the book and flip through its pages, you’re going to understand fairly quickly that the aforementioned description doesn’t do the book justice. It really is a book that needs to be seen to be believed, and what you’ll see in those pages will either turn you off completely or have you reaching for your wallet.
Now, over the years I’ve bought copies of House of Leaves as gifts for friends and family. What I’ve always loved about their reactions to the book is that nearly everyone has been spooked by it, and even better, I’ve yet to hear of people being afraid of the same thing.
Here are two things that have always frightened me when reading House of Leaves:
1) The game of “always”.
2) Ftaires! We have found ftaires!
If you’ve read the book, then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I think it’s time you went exploring.
Here’s an idea of what to expect:
…and that’s one of the easier pages.
This has been