The Darkness Has Found a Home (House of Leaves – A Book Review)

House of Leaves

Author: Mark Z. Danielewski

Published: 2000

On Goodreads

Rating:

Rated D for the demented demons that lurk in the dark crevices.

This is not for you.

After finding the collection of research/manuscript of a recently-and mysteriously-deceased, blind man, Johnny becomes with reading it. It follows a family that recently moved into a house on Ash Tree Lane that quickly comes to much confusion, followed by horror as they discover their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Darkening and terrifying abyss awaited them, haunted them. And the further Johnny gets, the more obsessed he becomes, realizing too late something is following him.

This…it was something else. Two stories happening with “research” to back it up. This book, which took me months to finish, was wild. I noticed in the reviews that either you got seriously disturbed and scared or you got flat-out bored. I got shook the feck up. Both stories grew into nightmares. I got major vibes that reminded me of Paranormal Activity, Channel Zero, Amityville Horror, and Twin Peaks.

Giphy

The style was top notch. There was a dance in flipping between the research of The Navidson Record and Johnny who was dealing with his own demons and deep obsession from it. He became something twisted and unnatural from this evil lurking in the dark. Starting out creepy with a hint of the unexplained and grew into a creature. The various descriptions of this darkening growth and its growls and stalking horror played with the mind, swallowing it and morphing it.

It wasn’t just the storytelling style either. With the pages a stage, the words themselves would break up and even fragmented into cut-out shape or lines that jumped off the page with more than the typical scene. In many ways, this felt like a work of non-fiction. There was an extra spine tingle with the cameo of real people through interviews and side notes. Every bit was convincing and that also made this trippy and scary. Sure, at times the book could be drawn out, but I found that to be interesting because I questioned whether that was a part of the book or just bits and pieces that were made for that. So much of this left me thoughtful. LOL.

Defined characters and strong delivery of them. The boundaries that they could reach was non-existent and Rated R. Each were well depicted and even given their own moment to shine because each had an imperative background for why they were here. It made them that more important and attachable. And, the more attachable the scarier it felt to feel the fear with them and lose them.

Overall

This preyed on a common fear. The dark and the fact that nobody truly knows what lurks in it. Clever and phenomenal. I can understand the difficulty of putting this on the big screen but one day it would be something to see that’s for sure. This was definitely worth the read, for me at least.

Quotables:

“We all create stories to protect ourselves.” (p. 20)

“Myth makes Echo the subject of longing and desire. Physics makes Echo the subject of distance and design. Where emotion and reason are concerned both claims are accurate. And where there is no Echo there is no description of space or love. There is only silence.” (p. 50)

“I’m afraid. It is hungry. It is immortal. Worse, it knows nothing of whim.” (p.59)

“Can Navidson’s house exist without the experience of itself.” (p. 172)

“Is it possible to think of this place as “unshaped” by human perceptions?” (p. 173)

“Whereupon Navidson’s eye quickly pan from the thoughtless splatter of grey matter and blood to more pressing things, the groan of the living calling him away from the sigh of the dead.” (p. 240)

“There’s only on choice and the brave make it, Fly from the path.” (p. 323)

“Do you believe in God? I don’t think I ever asked you that one. Well I do now, But my God isn’t your Catholic varietal or you Judaic or Mormon or Baptist or Seventh Day Adventist or whatever/ whoever. No burning bush, no angels, no cross. God’s a house/ Which is not to say that hour house is God’s house or even a house of God. What I mean to say is that our house is God.” (p. 390)

“Reminding me here, I mean that line about “a code to decipher”, how the greatest love letters are always encoded for the one and not the many.” (p. 393)

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

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