This is part five of my real-time review of HOUSE OF LEAVES by Mark Z. Danielewski and it will gradually appear in the comment stream below…

CONTINUED FROM HERE: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/holy-hol/

15 responses to “*


  2. Pages 397 – 402

    “How can a little snail grow in its stone prison?”

    The torpid Navidson (obsessed more with revisiting his own bookhouse rather than worrying about the film of his wife Karen being kissed) actually revisits — before possibly embarking on the potentially famous Exploration #5 — my own reading headshell.
    And so I realise that my own return to this bookhouse — after a short break, to get some terrifying medical scans for cancer in my body — is tantamount to having the same two co-vivid dreams as Navidson (the first two of three such dreams), dreams travelling from the lockdown of a concrete chamber to the various symbolisms of the snailshell — and it is more my rite of passage than his. The small clue is in the explicitly meaningful typo of ‘parentethical384’ as an echo of all such interpretations of typos in my gestalt real-time reviewing over the years, thus indicating that I have by now tantamount to written myself into this bookhouse as an option to probably being written out of life itself!
    (Not yet sure Navidson ever did reach the third ‘far most terrifying’ dream!)

  3. Pages 403 – 407

    Truant’s footnote may indeed resolve the misery, and HE might be ‘gifted’ the third dream instead of Navidson. And it is most terrifying I find, making Truant’s sex life and a ship’s engine room and a ‘frat boy’ meld with the act of playing truant, as it were, from a book that is being, by chance, simultaneously real-time reviewed here whereby, ironically, Truant’s narration entails a ‘plastic’ pliability and bodily melting induced by a.n. other not lovingly, as in the other book, but brutally. A disarming deformation purely for real, not even partially figuratively disarming…
    Meanwhile, Navidson’s return to this bookhouse (for Exploration #5??) does not help to heal the colluding tree that made it, nor the person colluding with that tree, I guess! But it seems this bookhouse’s still evolving gestalt, by dint of Navidson’s return, heals a whole wide range of people who are reading (or have read) this huge book of pages and also maybe heals people who have never read it and will never read it, perhaps just such a person as you who is reading my review of it today.

  4. FA57034D-3B5C-4B31-B238-5001C9A483D5

    When I decided a few weeks ago to real-time review THE SOT-WEED FACTOR here and THIS bookhouse simultaneously, I really had no idea or conscious memory that would have indicated these two bookhouses were thus so obviously linked. Here at the beginning of this chapter with references to Pocahontas, the tobacco industry etc.
    Indeed, having just witnessed Karen’s ‘sisterly’ meeting with the solicitor, I realise that one of their topics was whether there was any evidence of a myth or legend underlying the foundations of the HOUSE which would account for the ‘haunting’. And I now wonder if the Barth bookhouse haunts the Danielewski bookhouse, or vice versa, or both haunting each other mutually?
    And are the LEAVES tobacco????????
    Surely I should have put the two Virginias together before now.
    I have been slipping. 😦

    • Pages 410 – 413

      “…juft a breeze rustling through a handful of dying weeds warning away the illufion of time in the same language of a cemetery.”

      Truant’s footnote takes us into his determination to get to Virginia to suss out the bookhouse for himself – with his being evicted anyway! He visits Lude in transit with the latter’s digressive story involving Gdańsk Man. But I do notice Truant is now often using the letter f instead of the letter s just like Ebenezer Cooke himself (a character reinvoked by Barth) would have done in his eighteenth century published book!
      Meanwhile, in view of the ‘dying weeds’ in quote above….

      “Lude laughed as he finifhed the story and then promptly coughed up a chunk of something brown.”

    • Cf the ‘vagina complex’ mentioned earlier in this review.

    • Pages 413 – 417

      “Ftrange as it muft seem, Tiggs, Verm, and I take comfort in the found.”

      “Nevertheless, while the journal may offer some proof that Navidson’s extraordinary property existed almost four hundred years ago, why that particular location401 proved so significant remains unanswered.”

      Meanwhile, Karen’s compulsion to return there to find her ‘Navy’ and her change of heart about selling it intrigues us, as does her famous smile’s morphing or deconstructing as a result. And what “yawn of dark” did she not see behind her that the text so far avoids describing, avoids it in an unfinished sentence as a means of reductive redaction…

      As an oblique aside, Cf the words
      Tattoo Tobacco

  5. XIX

    “In photojournalism the celerity with which a moment of history is seized testifies to the extraordinary skill required.”

    It’s not just taking a shot and hoping for the best. Or it IS just that because you ARE the BEST. Instincts more important than deliberations. As I feel when taking shots of this book. The emptinesses that are full of meaning. Just like in Navidson’s famous photograph of Delial and the vulture in Sudan.
    And the context of his returning to the bookhouse for Exploration #5 simply because ‘…”he wanted to get a better picture.”410
    My book reviews, incidentally, have long been operated, by instinct, with this chapter’s “seven incarnations […] to becoming an Artist.”

  6. XX

    As in XX in 2019, it is fitting that some poignant crux of this bookhouse’s wild typology and death as an abyss and (tobacco?) ash is reached in chapter XX. An experience of typographical adventure that you will never forget either because it is so inspiringly resonant with Navidson’s huge mountain bike journey, amid references to Mannful magic mountain climbing (cf Ebenezer’s recent twin peaks or mountains of dream vision in the Factor) or because it is so brazenly pretentiously avant garde for the year 2000. Or both! Well, having been born in 1948, I am perhaps the crucial example of this chapter’s ‘septuagenarians puttering about in their English garden’ but now in 2021 I am unable, because of lockdown, to go to the pub to fetch the book of matches that Navidson has already taken on his vast Hallway (often freewheeling) journey as his Exploration #5 and ends up burning this very bookhouse page by page using such a BOOK of matches, as described, matches that are usually used on cigarettes in pubs! This is the very book he is burning for missing light, the bookhouse in which his journey is taking place, and where Navidson exists in the first place, though! No doubt trying to turn it and him into that ash on Ash Tree Lane, “in a trance born out of motion describing the ash floor in front of him before it is already behind him…” “All that remains is the ash black slab…” A “bartizan” that is Barth? “He tries to read faster, inevitably loses some of the text, frequently burns his fingers.” An ash of “A different kind of black”? “…that grotesque vision of absence.”

    “I can’t help thinking I’m going to reach an edge to this thing. I’ll be going too fast to stop and just fly off into darkness.”

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