From Amy Dotson, NWFC Director and PAM Curator, Film & New Media
House of Leaves
Written by Mark Z. Danielewski, United States
Available at the Multnomah County Library
A brilliant, difficult-to-describe documentary chronicling a house that takes on a life of its own, House of Leaves is a cinematic adventure worth taking. At once a romance, a horror story and the poignant tale of one young man slowly losing his grip on reality, the book (that’s right, it’s a novel!) is incredible in its fun-house like use of text and language, making the reader work as if they’re diving deep into a VR tale or working through a story with a good old-fashioned decoder ring. For those who love footnotes and typography, the book is also a wild ride, asking readers to go sideways, circle back, and find clues amongst its edges. Literally. A cult favorite amongst everyone from experiential designers and sci-fi filmmakers alike, add this to your Netflix cue, I mean book club list, to dive into something new over the long July 4th weekend and experience cinema unbound right in your reach.
Danielewski…weaves around his brutally efficient and genuinely chilling story a delightful and often very funny satire of academic criticism.
Danielewski’s achievement lies in taking some staples of horror fiction – the haunted house, the mysterious manuscript that casts a spell on its hapless reader – and using his impressive erudition to recover the mythological and psychological origins of horror, and then enlisting the full array of avant-garde literary techniques to reinvigorate a genre long abandoned to hacks.