Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review: House of Leaves

I think everyone has a small number of great finds in books or movies - titles that are not only great themselves but were a unique find for the reader or viewer in question. I love these titles, sometimes I'll come across a great horror film I wasn't expecting to be that good (Frailty for example - and yes, it will get its own post some day), and sometimes I'll find a book that grabs onto me with its premise and never lets go - like today's book, House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski.

The story itself is strangely compelling and drew me in in unexpected ways. First of all it's layered, we start reading a story about a tattoo artist called Johnny, who himself is learning of another man who made a career out of following a specific incident involving another man and his family. The book gets pretty creepy pretty fast and I found myself being drawn into it way before it started to get really freaky.

Of course the most engrossing part of the novel is when it stops behaving like a novel and starts getting stranger and stranger in its format and style. I loved the fact that even though certain passages were no longer making sense on their own, they all added up to a cohesive whole.

The author, Mark Z. Danielewski (pictured right) has written four books to date, and although I've only read House of Leaves, his other books are definitely in my list of books to be read. The book will wrinkle your brain a little, and it might not be the best thing to read late at night - but I can honestly say it is one of my favourite finds of the last ten years.

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