I read it a while ago. Ok most of it. Didn't make it quite to the end. I loved how it was written with the way the text was laid out but i just got the feeling it had a hidden message i just completely missed! Had a lecture on norse religion tonight and he was talking about the tree of life running through all the worlds, then he mentioned house of leaves!!!! What the hell does this book have to do with the tree of life????
No, I can't explain it. I bought it when it first came out, and was initially very intrigued with the style and layout, but realised that it just rambled on a lot about not much. OH started reading it, and found the concept of the house so disturbing he actually threw the book out as he said even it's presence was freaking him out. So I never finished it. But from the reviews I've read I didn't miss much. I have got no idea at all what it has to do with norse religion. I didn't see any of that in there.
I got to the end of the main bit with the guy getting stuck in the house. But that was inly half way through the book. I couldn't understand what the rest of the book was! Just a ton of appendix??? Also i had the soft back version. Aparently in the hard back, some text was in red. So i'm wondering if i missed a vital clue. It seems to me, it's a book to be deciphered rather than read. Also a bit marmite if the goodreads reviews are to be trusted.
I don't think it can be explained... take from it what you will. I love it, cover to cover. You could 'decipher' it, to a degree, but it's a novel, the story is enough on it's own if you like. I love it and have read and re-read it many times over the last 10+ years. There are a lot of 'codes' but I don't feel they answer anything, they might help some people interpret it in different ways but IMO there's no specific answer to anything.
Yggdrasil is the tree of life, inside the back cover. What miracle is this? This giant tree... Ash tree lane.
In the full colour edition 'house' is in blue, 'minotaur' is in red and there's a passage in purple.
It is as much an experiment in format as in narrative, forgive me but it has been a while since I read it but the physical aspect of the book and how it is printed means that it is a manifestation, or an attempt to, demonstrate some of the psychological torment that the characters(Johnny Truant and the family in the house) go through. I don't think you can explain it as such, you just experience it and it is something that Danielewski has continued with his other books as well.
All I know is it is definitely up there with my most disturbing reads. It really got under my skin and I think the confusing structure and format just added to that. backinthebox I can sympathise with your DH - I am occasionally freaked out that I might open one of the doors in my house and find a random dark corridor. It could make an amazing film. Or a really shit one.