quick thoughts on – House of Leaves

In the early 2000s I was up to my eyebrows in academia, and my themes were narrative labyrinths and the gothic; I cannot believe none of my teachers directed me towards this masterpiece of American Gothic. Good things, aplenty; bad things… a rare few and we prefer to give them a miss. While ultimately reading as a ghost story written for readers of the New Yorker, it does take itself lightly, even humorously, with a great deal of self-mockery for the academic lingo and the high-brow hyper-analysing sense of self, and all this is to its author’s credit. The *house* and whatever goes on in it is not the main issue here, as we deal with the over-neurotic and obsessively cataloguing mind of our times, inevitably taming the horrors into the quotes of academic studies. Our world, sadly, is unable to contain the gothic “trope” on its own, presumably after seeing so much horror in its [most] gothic century, the past one. The house, to a certain extent, feels quaint when compared with what lurks outside. What matters here are the fears, the many pasts, the hidden atrocities committed under the apparent normality of the familiar, and the horror of the quotidian. In the darkness we just encounter ourselves, and all those lurking. A noteworthy achievement, which one feels at some point couldn’t have been put together without a certain believe in its “wholeness”, or even “reality”, by its author, his publisher, and a cohort of convinced followers, artists and collaborators of all kinds. Its lone author cannot be anything other than a genius, or someone with an IQ which breaks the charts. And, incidentally, well-versed in mostly everything, Narrativity and the discourse of the Gothic being perhaps the quintessential elements of his fascinating imaginary. I will not forgive him for not including Pascal Bonitzer, though. A narrative maze is not whole without him.

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