THE NIGHTMARE IS OVER!!
...now the real work begins.
Now, all that aside.
Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves is a masterpiece of a first novel. I can hardly even describe it. I do believe that it fits the category of postmodern quite well (see the following for what I think is accurate...), but it goes far beyond that somehow.
This is not a book for the fainthearted. The book itself knows this:
"Take a look for yourself," he said, handing me a big brick of tattered paper. "But be careful," he added in a conspiratorial whisper. "It'll change your life."
House of Leaves certainly changed my life - at the very least it's going to change how I look at books and what I believe they are capable of. This one was capable of things not only within its own bounds, within the pages, the appendices, the footnotes (oh, the footnotes!), but also outside of those pages, that binding: I called it a nightmare above for a good reason.
I don't mean any of this to discourage any potential reader - in fact I want this to encourage readers - but I will be honest. I didn't want to walk to the bathroom by myself. I had to sleep with a nightlight, something I haven't needed for years. While I didn't get any actual nightmares, the resulting fragments of paranoia were enough for me.
And this is why all this digression should be encouraging: I have never read a book that presented me with so many questions, so many puzzles, and I have certainly never before read a book that haunted me. But don't fear it. Seek it out. Seek it out the way an adrenaline junkie seeks out new thrills. It's so fabulous.
Sadly this piece seems to have gone over some reviewer's heads, and I am certain that there are those who would or do hate this book. I think this is part of the pall of laziness plaguing humanity: House of Leaves forces you to think. Hard. Even harder if you seek to glean any kind of personal meaning from it. That difficulty, in my opinion, is what makes it so very glorious.
Good luck my friends.