back contents next April 6, 2000


EileeneA small thank-you note to Ryan of Behind My Eyes for noting that a link of mine should read "Four Stroke B" and not "Four Stoke B". Also, thanks to Krystyn of glitter, who noticed that my links were a bit wonky last month. I would have never caught it.

Oh, and speaking of Krystyn, she sent me a lovely email a few weeks ago that mention an interesting book titled House of Leaves, including the associated website. She said it was a book I could get obsessive about. This afternoon, Carli of House of the Moon who mentioned it today on #journals and that just took me over the edge.

I had to buy this book.

I called up the local Barnes and Noble. There is a disappointing one that is two blocks north of my office. I thought that maybe... maybe they would have it in stock and would restore my belief that this branch isn't so bad.

It's not in stock.

Disheartened, I decided to leave work early (it turns out that I don't start until tomorrow on my next project) and take the S train cross-town. Near the entrance to the platform is a small but delicious bookstore called posmanbooks. Their selection is well-chosen and I hoped that maybe there would be a copy there.


I also picked up Organizing from the Inside Out. Perhaps it will help me with my packrat nature. Mike claims that purchasing the book in itself fosters my packrat behavior. I tried to dismiss it, but couldn't think of anything clever.


I really didn't know anything about House of Leaves when I picked it up, other than a few people noting that it is a very good book and one that has achieved cult status. That's always good. I've found an attraction to tales that have "cult fandom" mentality attached to them. The book was a lot thicker than I expected it to be, a whopping 732 pages. The cover is attractive, a matte black background with the outline of a house plan done in shiny black. A striking yellow compass in the center. "House of Leaves", it reads, with "House" in a blue/lavender color. Mark Z. Danielewski. A Novel. The spine is covered with polaroids of houses. The back is a black and white, Blair-Witch style photograph with three enticing blurbs about the book. One of them is from Ellis.

The beginning is extremely intriguing.

This is not for you.

I began reading it on the bus home. I'm on page 40. I'm hooked. It has introduced me to the two "narrators" of the novel. One of the narrators is Zampano, an old man who devoted the end of his life to writing The Navidson Report, an examination of a film documentary by William Navidson tracing Navidson's discovery and exploration of his house. The house has one amazing property: it is larger on the inside than on the outside.

Whoever finds and publishes this work shall be entitled to all proceeds. I ask only that my name take its rightful place. Perhaps you will even prosper. If, however, you discover that readers are less than sympathetic and choose to dismiss this enterprise out of hand, then may I suggest you drink plenty of wine and dance in the sheets of your wedding night, for whether you know it or not, now you truly are prosperous. They say truth stands the test of time. I can think of no greater comfort than knowing this document failed such a test.

The second narrator is Johnny Truant, a young man that moved into Zampano's apartment after the old man dies. He slowly pieces the story together and does further research, attempting to continue Zampano's work. While Zampano's work is very academic (and demonstrates a vast knowledge of literature and art), Johnny's words are more emotional and raw. It's a wonderful contrast.

I still get nightmares. In fact I get them so often I should be used to them by now. I'm not. No one ever really gets used to nightmares.

...Ever see yourself doing something in the past and no matter how many times you remember it you still want to scream stop, somehow redirect the action, reorder the present? I feel that way now, watching myself tuffed stupidly along by intertia, my own inquisitiveness or whatever else, and it must have been something else, though what exactly I have no clue, maybe nothing, maybe nothing's all... it doesn't matter anyway. Whatever orders the path of all my yesterdays was strong enough that night to draw me past all those sleepers kept safely at bay from the living, locked behing their sturdy doors, until I stood at the end of the hall facing the last door on the left, an unremarkable door too, but still a door to the dead.


The more time goes by since I read American Psycho, the more I respect and enjoy the book. Some would claim that this happens to all negative experiences, but since it's been a while since I've seen "Wild Wild West" and I still have no respect for it, certainly it is not the case. After I finished reading the book, I decided that there was something I just Didn't Get(tm). Something I was missing. I began to read all the essays I could find on American Psycho, especially the upcoming film.

The first suggestion that really struck a chord was, "What if it is all in his head? None of it is real." That really puts a different spin in the story and it makes it more fascinating. It touched me and my own murderous thoughts. Inside of me is this violent, vengeful creature. Everytime someone does a wrong to me, there is an tiny flicker of a violent thought or act. It's quickly forgotten, but I cannot deny its existance. I love how Patrick Bateman doesn't hold himself back. He does what we all want to do, shamelessly. There's a part of me that longs to be so unrestraint.

Quick rereads through the material, along with some unforgettable stills from the movie, has groomed me for obsessive behavior about American Psycho. One still I especially like is an image of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) holding a nail gun to his secretary's head (Chloe Sevgny) after they had gone out to dinner. She's very innocent and not a part of the yuppie circles he travels and socializes. He holds up the nailgun to her head, hesitates, and then lowers it. He decides not to kill her. I read a quote by Mary Harron (director and cowriter, also directed "I Shot Andy Warhol") that talks about this is the most redeeming part of the movie for Patrick. Where he is the most human and how, with this one act, this is his expression of love.

It's twisted yet beautiful and frightfully romantic.

I still think that the novel gets boring towards the end (with exception of the really end of the book. "Chase, Mahnattan" is one of my favorite chapters in the entire novel), but I'm gaining a lot of respect for the work. I'm looking forward to the movie.


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Text from House of Leaves © Copyright 2000 Mark Z. Danielewski
© Copyright 1999-2000 Eileene Coscolluela