I have a friend who is on a strike rate of 100% for recommended TV shows and books. I’ve loved every single one of them. This record remains intact thanks to a book she recommended to me recently; House Of Leaves.
When I was a child, our family lived in an old house in a small country town. It had its fair share of dark spots and walls that creaked. Absence of light and bumps in the night are what usually terrify a child, because children tend to fill the void with unspeakable creatures. However, for me it wasn’t the thought of what could be making noise, or what could be hiding in the dark, it was just a particular room that scared me; the hallway.
For reasons unexplained, regardless of it being day or night, whether the house was crowded or I was alone, up until the age of 12 I felt that our hallway was haunted. Not in the traditional sense, like there was some malevolent creature from days or dimensions past that was trapped there, but it was the hallway itself. I’d step one foot in there, and the walls would close in on me, almost shrieking at me to get out.
House of Leaves is a novel that really speaks to those earlier fears; not of the cliché boogeymen under the bed, or ghosts in the attic, but the house itself. It is a psychological novel by Mark Z. Danielewski that is based around three layered, separately developed, yet intertwined narratives.