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Title: House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Number of Pages: 709 pages
Book Number/Goal: 23/30 for 2010
My Rating: 2.5/5

This is the story of a family who move into a new house only to find that it is not what it seems. After going away for a weekend, they come back to find a closet that wasn't there before, and then later a hallway appears leading out into what should be the yard, but inside is a vast space that is constantly shifting. The story is told by an old man who has written a book about a documentary made about the house. But there's another layer on top of that, with Johnny, the old man's neighbor, finding his manuscript after he dies and putting it together and telling his own story in footnotes.

The way the story is told is very interesting and creative, I'll give Danielewski that. It's also very, very boring. Like, this is THE most boring way to tell a horror story ever. Telling it as if it's a non-fiction analysis of a documentary? Boring. Johnny's stupid life of working in a tattoo parlor and taking drugs and fucking a bunch of girls? Even more boring wtaf.

This book is a slog to read. After a while I started skimming any of Johnny's footnote rambles about his stripper girlfriend/fuck buddy/whatever. I thoroughly read the letters from his crazy mother, though, and pretty thoroughly read his own diary entries at the back and I still don't see what his story adds to the book at all. Really, if you can tell me what the point of that was, I would love to know.

I did enjoy the actual story of the Navidson house. I would have liked it even better if it were just a story about that, without the double framing devices.

Everybody else seems to love it, though? What did you love about it? Do you like fiction that pretends to be non-fiction with a lot of footnotes? (I hated Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for that, too. Stopped reading the footnotes after a while.) Is there some awesomeness about Johnny's story I was missing? I'm geniunely curious.


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