Sunday, March 23, 2008

Informal: House of Leaves

Has anyone else found the footnotes, particularly later on in the book, insanely confusing? Twice already a footnote has refered to a later chapter which, at the current moment, has little or no relevance to the topic at hand such as page 82. On that page the footnote instructs you to refer to Chapter 13 which, after reading the first two pages, isn't really relevant at this time. Also, are we really supposed to read all 50 pages of the letters from Truant's mother at this time. Anyway, anyone's input would be greatly appreciated because right now I'm interested while, at the same time, confused. This book is like watching Momento for the first time, it's very difficult to juggle both stories going on at the same time. This problem is exacerbated by the weird times when one story is cut off and the other one continues.


erika mcclintock said...

The way that I have approached reading the book is this way- in order to preserve the narrative, I have read the book in the most linear manner possible(and this can be a challenge). What I mean by this is that I read each page by determining the dominant narrative at the time. If it is Johnny's writing- I read his writing until it comes to a stopping point- then I transition back to the Navidson storyline. I do not mean that I skip anything, but I will flip back and forth a page to get to "logical" stopping points, then go back to the beginning of the other narrative. Typically, they seem to follow a type of rhythm back and forth without flipping more than a page or so (I am about 1/3 of the way thru the book at this point). I have ignored the endnotes for practical reasons (I have browsed over them, but not really consistently and not as I read the primary narrative) and tried to stay true to the central 2-3 narratives. I do read the footnotes- they seem to help occasionally and a number of the more humorous elements are found there.

I have been basically ignoring the "lists" once I get a sense of their significance- i.e. the lists of photographers, architectural elements, architects, horror films that make up some of the "design" elements of the book.

As a result, I think the book is much easier to grasp. Those endnotes will still be there to flesh out the story later when and if I re-read it and once I have a stronger grasp of what is actually going on in the book.

I know that everything in the book is there for a reason, but I have a sense that I will be able to work it out once I read the book thru once and then go back and work out the details.

I hope that helps!

Adam Johns said...

Erika's advice is all good, but I have a simple piece of advice: don't worry about it. Why do I say this? Johny actually says the same thing, more crudely (we'll talk about that in class). That doesn't mean you don't need to read it carefully - you certainly do - but the result of the way the footnotes and appendices are arranged is to make it impossible for there to be a single correct order to the book. So, read whatever way is most natural for you, at least hte first time.

Steev said...

Personally, I just read the story, and when I hit a footnote, I read it. Most of them are set up so that the footnote happens at the end of something significant, and it's not hard to bounce back and forth.