1.3.07

OrangeMoJoJo is Totally Into Ergodic Literature!

I know! You thought you knew me, right?

The word "house" appears in blue throughout the book, no matter what language it appears in. (See the cover above and a page from the text below.)
I counted the word house appeared in at least four languages, always highlighted in blue.


Ergodic literature is not something you can very easily skim.
Thank God I didn't have to read Danielewski at Shimer!


So I have a WINNER!!! for the Scare The Bejeebus Outta OrangeMoJoJo Contest from this past Halloween, even though I'm actually still reading the book.

CONGRATULATIONS, CHUFFED! You win a plate of Peanut Butter Temptations, which I will get to you as soon as I sneak the recipe away from Shannon. It's his most closely guarded recipe, and also his most popular baking request.

Chuffed had recommended The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Others had recommended: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The House on Haunted Hill by Shirley Jackson, Ghost Story by Peter Straub, and, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

I loved In Cold Blood, it just didn't creep me out like The House of Leaves did. Erm, I mean, is doing. Ghost Story was the scariest of the four runners-up; In Cold Blood the best written.

I missed all the hype back when this book was but a glint in Danielewski's eye. Like The Blair Witch Project, Danielewski used the internet and media to get people talking before the book was "compiled," passing the story off as real.

He essentially lets us scare the bejeebus out of ourselves by letting our imaginations go free and wild. You really don't know what you're afraid of - a distant growl? A claw-like slash on a wall? A room that wasn't there before? Inexplicable dimensions of a house where the inside is far, far larger than the outside? Danielewski fuels this fear by citing his work with actual footnotes and sources.

You can flip through the book to any footnote and look the source up on www.Amazon.com.

It'll be there.

It's been referred to as "a satire of academic criticism," which I think anyone who's attended grad school will probably get a smirk out of. I can't imagine the time and effort Danielewski took (10 years!) to put this work together. Each person has his or her own voice, evidenced through font and tone. There are footnotes. Everything is cited. There are windows in the book, and mirrors, created an actual house through text. There are rips, again, created through text alone. It's an amazing work, and far FAR from an easy read. I'm glad you recommended it to me Chuffed for the experience alone. I have never read anything like it. The closest I can equate it to, all that comes to mind, are the movies The Blair Witch Project which scared me to the point of almost having to leave the theater, and Natural Born Killers which was presented to the audience as an actual series of events.

Danielewski just came out with a new book: Only Revolutions, and he again uses the actual text to help tell the story in his unique way. I don't know if I'll read that one. As much as I am enjoying House of Leaves, and as glad I am to have been introduced to it, I can't see myself putting this much effort into reading another novel any time soon.

There's rumour of a House of Leaves movie. One "fan" of the book who calls him/herself "katatonic" recommended Christopher Lambert to play one of the twins, Navy or Tom. Seeing as the twins are clever, interesting, and contain, oh, I don't know, DEPTH - I think maybe this "fan" should be thrown into the deepest bowels of the House and his or her cries ignored from those sitting in the brightly lit dining room only a few feet away.

Click here for a good review of the book.

Congratulations, Chuffed, and thank you for the recommendation. What a chilling novel! I can't wait till we both finish it so's we can discuss it! Maybe over tea at Transitions Bookstore?

1 comment:

Shannon said...

No! NO! The temptations recipe is mine!!!! MINE!!! I'll NEVER give it up. NEVER!!! NEEEEEEEEEVER!