I think a lot of people pick up Finnegans Wake and fall in love with the perverse but precise architecture of that book and figure, "shit, I can do that."
Well, they can't.
I positively adore Danielewski's House of Leaves equally for its compelling structure and the stories stretched up on those frames, but this one is all stretcher and no canvas. It's a he-said, she-said, both stories glind through the book, upside down from each other. The letter O appears in green everywhere in the book for reasons that I do not care about. The font in each story gets smaller as the story progresses, and there is a running oblique timeline of events that runs the sidebar, starting with teh abolition of slavery in the 1800's and the date progresses on each page by as many days as there is left in that particular story, starting in his story and telescoping into hers. Curiously, he continues the sidebar structure up into something like the year 2350, but stops filling it in around May of 2005, likely when the book was completed.
The story is written in higgledy-piggledy poetic form and while I caught myself getting caught in the meldoy of it, I could never really get a bead on what was going on. Graphic designers and other font obsessives will dig it, those who prefer form over function might dig it, but otherwise I found it to be an impenetrable curiosity. Link
damn. all my students have been telling me all about house of leaves and giving me a giant boner for it so i went to big & nasty in macon the other day with a $50 xmas giftcard & they didn't have house of leaves but they did have this book and i totally bought it, just on the merit of all the good word of mouth of the other book, and i haven't had time to read it yet (though i did of course flip through and was like ??!! but i thought maybe it - i don't know? would be AWESOME instead of just obnox and confusing like it looks at first) and man. your review came like a day too late dude. i coulda bought best american essays 2007 instead. AH WELL.ReplyDelete