My House: Recollections on House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

It's always wonderful when people discover a classic from years before because of a movie or tv show, or in the case of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski a Mod for the Videogame Doom. Recently a Doom modification called "MyHouse.wad" has been making waves in the broader internet due to the way it stretched and pushed and played with the format of what was possible inside of the game Doom.  This mod was influenced very heavily by one of my favorite novels, House of Leaves, published in the year 2000.

House of Leaves is a veritable nest of words.  It is in fact a book, but one that plays with the conventions of literature and horror in a very satisfying way. A framed story (as an aside I love framed stories, the fantasy novel Name of the Wind is another fave) this book is itself the ultimate frame for enjoying the story. To not get too into the plot Johnny Truant finds an unfinished manuscript by a recently deceased Zampanò and publishes it with his thoughts as in text notes (footnotes, endnotes, etcetera). The text is about a seemingly made-up documentary called the Navidson Record which is in itself about a family that moves into a house and discovers some rather mathematically strange things about it. Confused?  I was too, but trust me when I say that delving into this book is a house worth exploring.

If you like unsettling novels, books that have a lot of footnotes (looking at you Infinite Jest fans!), books that are themselves heavily influenced by fake movies (hi Night Film fans!) or just books that really capture the feeling of the late 90s / early 2000s then this is the book for you!  Don't wait, don't measure the book, don't delay, because what's inside is unsettlingly more vast than it's physical dimensions.

Titles mentioned in this review:

Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves

Masters of Doom

Name of the Wind

Infinite Jest

Night Film