House of Leaves: a novel that trumps the process of being over the eventual state of becoming.
Kung, Crystal Yan Ting.
Date of Issue2011
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
House of Leaves, by contemporary author Mark Z. Danielewski, has within its pages the ability to ignite various reactions and responses from its readers. It does not matter if you merely browse the book or diligently sit through it; either way, it captures you. From the different font styles in the text, the quirky placements of passages and words, and the occasionally (maybe sometimes not so occasional) different font colors you see in the text, to the various ‘authors’ in the novel and the overlapping narratives, it is undeniable that House of Leaves challenges our idea of a typical novel. This bold step made by Danielewski suggests a different reading experience. Reading is no longer an escape into a fictional world, nor is it similar to the viewpoint of a figure elevated so high up that he/ she becomes a voyeur, looking down at the text. Rather, the reading experience becomes similar to a walk in the city. With the involvement of the readers, the reading experience of House of Leaves becomes singular as each individual’s interpretation of the material before him/ her varies. Each read yields one more singular experience each time it is read, demonstrating the non-generalizability of experience.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University