House of Leaves

House of Leaves
by Mark Z Danielewski

Amazon: House of Leaves [trade paperback]
Rating: 5/5

if you steal her once, steal her twice, or free us with a glance--for an only child is the only chance to end this wicked curse--the only way, we say, you rid a sea with dance and banish love to verse.

A Book of Many Distortions

Have you ever held a vial of mercury? Do you remember your surprise that first time? Your surprise to find the weight your eyes had told your hands to expect was a lie? This is the experience that often comes to mind when finding myself again holding this book... each time I find myself tempted to once again wander the halls within the House of Leaves.

This book is heavy, much more physically weighty than eyes say it should be. Whether this was intentionally crafted by the creators, or if this is only a residual psychosomatic phenomenon as a result of having read the book, I couldn't say. Both are plausible. Because of how much work was put into distorting this book, I suspect the former cause.

If so, this is only the first of a great many intended distortions. "House of Leaves" is a work of art that appears to be a book, and draws heavily from the genre of literature. It then adds from much more experimental fields to create a specific effect, while simultaneously telling multiple stories. The end result (at first glance) could be mistaken as "just some book". This sensory illusion quickly falls apart shortly into the reading.

Mercury. The reason such a small quantity is so heavy, of course, is due to density. There is simply more matter contained in the occupied space than past experiences have prepared your mind to expect. This darkness, density and weight is the intended effect behind "House of Leaves". The family at the core of this story, trained by experience to expect time and space to operate in only one way, first meet with this darkness upon the discovery that their house is larger on the inside than on the outside.

To briefly cover the introduction, the days following this discovery were barely captured, and only on some home video footage and notes. Zampano, who pieced this all together with tape, ink and every available writing surface, called this "The Navidson Record". Johnny Truant, who took the dead Zampano's notes from the apartment of the deceased, claims that this record is a lie. Both, however, realize that the truth or falsity of this record does not affect the story's telling.

What follows is The Navidson Record, detailing these last days, with footnotes from Zampano, Johnny Truant and The Editors. As previously stated, it is not long until... well... things fall apart. The family, the minds of those who passed on the notes, and the book itself.

If you've not yet read "House of Leaves", something inside me wants to tell you "this book is for you" ...and... "put aside everything else 'til you've read it". The more honest part of me--the part that's been stirred to raw emotions at only the thought of this book, and can open to nearly any page to feel my eyes tear up--wants to let you know that, should you finish it, this book will not leave you as the same person you were before entering the House of Leaves; that, here, there is no forgiveness, no salvation, no yellow-brick road; that, within these pages is a creature of shadow, and that this darkness adapts to you--the reader--the more you read.

To those readers strong in spirit, who seek that rare strength found only in facing an even stronger fear: "Seek ye, in the House of Leaves, a forge to form or break your spirit." To all else: "Seek ye, elsewhere, your salvation."

Mind you the opening words in this book:

this book is not for you

Rate this review here.

(Untitled Fragment)

Little solace comes
to those who grieve
when thoughts keep drifting
as walls keep shifting
and this great blue world of ours
seems a house of leaves

moments before the wind.

~ Copyright Mark Z Danielewski ~
~ a work of ONLY REVOLUTIONS ~
~ Pantheon Books, Random House, Inc. ~
Opening poem and "Untitled Fragment" are copyright Random House Publications. All rights reserved. Inclusion permitted via the Fair Use subsection of the United States copyright law of 1976.

with thanks to Zero for my introduction

The Indestructible Hilux

The Toyota Hilux: This may be the only truck ever given props here on Mall of Me. My friends who've owned a Hilux (aka, Tacoma) had already impressed me with how long they last. My friend Drachimera turned me on to this "Top Gear" special. In this special, the show takes on the task of trying to destroy a single Toyota Hilux.

Sadly, Top Gear turned off embedding of the video last year, so you can't watch it here. And, now, the original video has been made private on YouTube. You can't even watch it there. I was considering killing this post, but it's a favorite stop on Google for some viewers and so I'm modifying it instead.

While you can't check out the original video that kicked off this attempt to kill the Hilux, the videos that are still live from the source at least re-cap all they tried to kill it with up to this point. You really have to see it to believe it:

Killing a Toyota Part 2 (a)

Killing a Toyota Part 2 (b)

- [2010.07.29] - Removed dead video playlist. Updated entry content to reflect current videos available from official source.