House of Leaves made number 1? I mean–
Wait. What do I mean? I own a (sadly black and white) copy of House of Leaves, which ended up being a lucky find in the bookstore one day. I’d heard about the book and was fascinated by the concept, but ultimately… disappointed by the execution.
Because, yes. The book is the labyrinth, the “leaves” and the pages, and so on and so on. I get it, it’s cute. My main problem with HoL was that, well, underneath the “cute” there wasn’t very much going on. A standard impossible geometry/haunted house sort of story, layered in with a deeply irritating, self-conscious meta-narrator of the “isn’t madness Hip and Cool!” variety. I read it, and it was engaging enough, but it didn’t leave me in awe of its execution, shall we say.
Except that wasn’t really what the question was, was it? It wasn’t whether the book was good, it was whether it was scary, and–let’s be honest here–they’re not always the same thing. For the most part–and with a few exceptions, such as an early scene with rulers–it was the woven narrative that didn’t click with me, in contrast to the story of the house. Because I confess I do have a bit of a soft spot for the labyrinthine unknown, as well as “found footage” narrative, so the dry, semi-factual descriptions of the
endless black corridors twisting on for all eternity, occupied only by the sinister presence that lurks around every corner, just out of sight, that drags it awful bulk into the void between your ears and hides behind your eyes, hot-wet breath ghosting across the back of your neck and the hairs on your arms stand on end and the stench of
Point being, I guess I have a sort of… odd relationship to this book. I still wouldn’t say I think it’s great–it could’ve been, I think, but it isn’t–but, on the other hand… yeah.
Yeah maybe it is pretty scary, after all.