Do not start this book if you are looking for a light, fun read. Do not start this book if all you want to do while reading is scan a page and flip the page. Do not start this book if you are uncomfortable with feelings of unexplainable dread.
House of Leaves is not an easy read. It took me a full two weeks to finish reading. Not only are there footnotes and footnotes that have footnotes, but the way the words are typed on to the page at times requires effort to read. While reading this book, you will have to turn the book upside down and sideways. You will have to have a couple of book marks and multiple fingers holding pages so you can flip easily between the book itself and the footnotes that extend for 5+ pages. You will have to read words backwards and read pages from bottom to top. This book requires effort and if you’re not willing to put that effort in, the book will punish you.
All together, the book follows two main story lines. There is the primary text of the book which is one man’s academic dissection and dissertation on a film titled the The Navidson Record. In that text, written by an elderly man named Zampano, there are frequent citations to interviews, articles, books, and other films that do not exist outside of House of Leaves, but an incredible amount of detail was put in to creating fictitious citations. Cut into that text through the use of very, very long footnotes is the story of Johnny Truant who has found Zampano’s dissertation and is committed to compiling everything the man left behind after he died. But in the process of compiling that record, Johnny slowly unravels in horrifying and dreadful ways.
This book warrants more than one read. I am certain that there are mysteries that I did not discover upon first pass. There is simply so much to dig through (I haven’t even mentioned any of the many Appendices that are included with the text). I just don’t know if I’m willing to put in the effort again.