Posted on February 21, 2008 by Flames
House of Leaves is a peculiar novel, not precisely one thing and not quite another. It isn’t quite a dark fantasy novel, it isn’t quite a horror novel, it isn’t quite a piece of kafkaesque surrealism and isn’t quite a cohesive work of fiction. It is at once pretentious and deep, confusing and captivating, disturbing and curious. The thrust of the story, which is really several stories, is the discovery of a peculiar manuscript by ‘Johnny Truant’ a no good tattoo artist and deadbeat who, thanks to the manuscript, seems to start a slow descent into madness. The manuscript came to him via Zampano, a crazy old man who died and from whom Johnny effectively stole it. The manuscript itself is an examination, investigation and critique into a strange film called The Navidson Record which records the peculiar happenings at the titular ‘House of Leaves’ a place owned by Navidson, his wife and their children and where the house takes on a sinister aspect as it shifts shape and time and seems to try and swallow them up, all of which is supposedly documented on a peculiar film that is doing the rounds.
Review by James ‘Grim’ Desborough