Saturday, January 29, 2011


Over the last few days and week, I've been sporadically picking up House of Leaves to reread. This morning, while Lynda was napping to recover from her chaperon time at last night's Girl Scout sleepover, I finished things up while the girls played.

Now, I didn't sit down and read the book through again. Mostly I opened it up near the beginning to where the last bookmark was and starting reading the Navidson family parts. (I skipped the Johnny Truant/Zampano parts, as I have tended to do the last two or three times I've reentered the book.)

It is the story of the house exploration that has always interested me the most since I first read it. And whenever I do reread it, it always reminds me of those first few years at my job and those people that I worked with then, who have become my close friends. Though we are not all together anymore and even the ones of us who are still working are doing so in very different capacities than  before, this book always conjures up that time.

That time when I transitioned from grad school into the working life. That time when my family began to grow. That time when I started really figuring out who the adult me was going to be. That time that led me to this time.

House of Leaves is a book that I have blogged on before and I've probably spent some time in a previous post several years ago attempting to describe the plots of the narrative. (So, now might be a good time to try the search feature that I have helpfully located in the side bar of my blog. See if you can successfully search for mentions of the book in past entries. And if you do find something, why not mention it in the comments below? And provide a helpful link to the URL? The digital world is supposed to be a collaborative medium after all.)

But, if none of that works out, I'm sure you can find information about the book online. (Heck, I'll probably go searching after I'm done writing this to see what I can find that I've forgotten about in the past.)

HoL is the closest thing I can find that approximates the reading challenge that was Infinite Jest, the other significant book that conjures up the time period that I was mentioning a few paragraphs above. (And I am excitedly looking forward to David Foster Wallace's posthumous novel The Pale King.) Both IJ and HoL challenge the reader in multiple ways--narratively, chronologically, visually. Both are mind-bendingly complex, and both make you wonder what you have learned when you are done. Such complexity, of course, lends itself to repeated visits, hoping that you learn a bit more each time.

So, if you are looking for something new and you want a challenge, House of Leaves is a good recommendation.

Just don't expect it to be an easy read on a Sunday afternoon.

1 comment:

jack t. said...

I should pick up H.o.L. again, too. It made quite an impact on me, back then. BTW, I tried to use the search box to find when you first mentioned this book---because most of us read it around the same time, and I forget when that was---but I couldn't get the search to find anything. Anyway, in other news, I'm happy to see The Pale King finally listed on Amazon. The release date is 4/15, which is a bit funny since the main character is an IRS employee. (see, ) I'll be pre-ordering mine soon.