Mark Z. Danielewski

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a386
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Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby a386 » Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:01 am UTC

in light of the recent house reference, ( http://xkcd.com/472/ ) i thought this thread was in order. anybody read only revolutions? i think i liked that one better than house, but it's kind of apples1-and-oranges2 to compare them. minotaur The history ticker oXXXXXXXXXXX addition, i think it was interesting tXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX to thXXXXXXXXXX taste3XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

1A deciduous Eurasian tree (Malus pumila) or the firm, edible, usually rounded fruit of this tree
2Any of several southeast Asian evergreen trees of the genus Citrus*
3Editor's note: should appear "waste"
*Citrus, from the Latin Citron tree

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby apeman5291 » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:42 pm UTC

I just checked out House of Leaves from my local library, and I haven't gotten very far. I can tell it's going to be good just from "This is not for you."

Also, I take it that the editors' notes and such are just his style? I'm already sort of confused, but in a good, Donnie Darko way.
What you don't understand, you can make mean anything.

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Bear Police » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:10 am UTC

Only Revolutions is great, but not nearly as great as House. I'm really interested in reading The Fifty Year Sword but I doubt I ever will get the chance to.
Last edited by Bear Police on Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:04 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby a386 » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:05 am UTC

Bear Police wrote:Only Revolutions is great, but nearly as great as House. I'm really interested in reading The Fifty Year Sword but I doubt I ever will get the chance to.

oh man yeah, i would love to get my hands on a copy of that. there are signed ones going on ebay for a thousand dollars or so

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby ekm » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:21 am UTC

a386, I think Danielewski would be proud of your post, it was spot on.

I read House of Leaves, but I've let a friend borrow Only Revolutions, as I could never really get into it. It took me about 6 months to read the first half of House, and about 6 days to read the last half.

Has anyone read The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall?
It's definitely not in the same genre, but Hall was a fan a Danielewski's before righting Raw Shark, and it's definitely evident in the text. I recommend it.

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Bear Police » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:26 am UTC

I finished reading House for the second time recently, and I came up with a new theory about the ending.

Spoiler:
I'm thinking that Johnny Truant does not actually exist. Zampano, when writing The Navidson Record, also wrote House of Leaves. He wrote all of Johnny's footnotes. This explains how the manuscript got to the band. It never did because Johnny's story was entirely fictional. Zampano never died, he just inserted himself and his death into the book as a character who becomes the basis for Johnny's discovery of the book and lose of sanity.

Does this make sense? The unreliability of Johnny throughout the book (inserting incorrect details into The Navidson Record, lying in the House of leaves footnotes numerous times) is what led me to think this. It's really the only logical way I can see the events on the last two chapters taking place.

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby a386 » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:56 am UTC

ekm wrote:a386, I think Danielewski would be proud of your post, it was spot on.

=D
Spoiler:
bear police, i think that's totally viable, but it makes Zampano's whole character sort of unnecessary. In the case of your theory Zampano basically becomes nothing more than a pseudonym for Danielewski, because he wrote the whole book House of Leaves. Everything he wrote about himself and Johnny is fictional, so there may as well not even be that extra level of distinction that he is fictional as well, because we know nothing about the world Zampano lives in. Still it's a possibility. I like that about the last couple of chapters of Johnny's tale, how open-ended they are. Reality might be bending around Johnny or he might just be lying to you, or as you said he might be a construct, all still in the context of his fictional world.

this might have been the first time i used a spoiler tag for an actual spoiler?

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby ekm » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

I think I'm definitely going to need to read House again, with that theory in mind.

Spoiler:
I always took Johnny's inconsistencies to be just the way Johnny was, unreliable. I assumed that Danielewski used an unreliable storyteller to tell the story because it added to the havoc and chaos. While the story of the House spinned out of control, so did Johnny's life.
That is my foggy memory of the basic interpretation I made when I read the book awhile ago. Though obviously I'm due for another read!

Any suggestions for how to read Only Revolutions? I think the book said to flip it every 8 pages or so, but I was wondering if anyone who has read the book has any different suggestions? And did you pay attention to the timeline as you read, or just follow the story and ignore the timeline?

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby a386 » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:23 pm UTC

when i read revolutions i read 8 pages of one story, then 16 of the next, 16 of the first and so-on, so that way the 8 page chunks remained intact but one of the characters wasn't constantly following the other. it was basically 8-by-8 but alternating the leader. also i sort of got a vague understanding of the timeline, when it history it was, without paying a whole lot of attention to each individual event. I think there were parallels between the vibe of the time in american history (the 50s were prosperous, the 60s, revolutionary) and the vibe of the character's stories.

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Bear Police » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:14 am UTC

The book made much more sense to me when I was listening to the audiobook version, so you might want to try that. The way it's read makes it more coherent than trying to figure out the structure on your own.

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:51 am UTC

Bear Police wrote:The book made much more sense to me when I was listening to the audiobook version, so you might want to try that. The way it's read makes it more coherent than trying to figure out the structure on your own.


For a few seconds I thought you meant an audiobook HoL. And I was so amazingly confused.
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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby a386 » Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:04 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Bear Police wrote:The book made much more sense to me when I was listening to the audiobook version, so you might want to try that. The way it's read makes it more coherent than trying to figure out the structure on your own.


For a few seconds I thought you meant an audiobook HoL. And I was so amazingly confused.

[morgan freeman] and then on this page, there's just one word, and it's "math," and then the next page has got a bunch of text and then some more text in a little box. I will now proceed to read the little box: Châteauesque, Cistercian, Classical, Conceptual, Conch House... [/morgan freeman]

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby AKAnotu » Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:45 pm UTC

I just finished House of Leaves, and I must admit it's a great book. Explorations 1 and 4 scared the crap out of me, to the point where I was afraid of both having my eyes open, and having my eyes closed at the same time. Also, I have to sit around for five minutes to work up the courage to go to the bathroom/shower at night.

I loved Holloway's final moments in the house, but the ending was kind of disappointing for me.
Spoiler:
Navidson just bikes for a while, until finding a window and ladder, until he falls for a long time, then he and Karen magically are safe.

Not scary enough, in my opinion. Probably because Navidson's not scared of the house either.
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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Bear Police » Sat Sep 20, 2008 10:12 am UTC

I thought it really proved the bond of love between Karen and Navidson.
AKAnotu wrote:Explorations 1 and 4 scared the crap out of me, to the point where I was afraid of both having my eyes open, and having my eyes closed at the same time. Also, I have to sit around for five minutes to work up the courage to go to the bathroom/shower at night.
Glad I'm not the only one!

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Nyarlathotep » Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:29 pm UTC

I'm on my second attempt at House of Leaves. the first time, I got caught up in finals and couldn't finish it. This time, the same thing will probably happen. *sigh*

My friend Patrick on the other hand borrowed it from me and finished it in two days. He came up with his own theory:

Spoiler:
Johnny does exist; Johnny's mother exists; Zampano does not. Johnny exhibits the traits of severe paranoid-schizophrenia: delusions and hallucinations (the minotaur, among other things), and some of his digressions in the text can be seen as thought-disorder. There's some evidence of co-morbidity with OCD as well, given his obsessiveness over the book. Maybe. His mother is also obviously schizophrenic, which would be why she's institutionalized (and further supports his claim). Thus, Johnny believes Zampano existed, however the truth is that the entire book was a complete delusion on his part, brought on by an attempt to deal with his hallucinations of some thing out of the corner of his eye.


My pet theory is that
Spoiler:
Johnny is indeed schizophrenic; but Zampano did exist. Zampano's writings just provided a trigger for Johnny's delusions and hallucinations to manifest, and something for them to center around. the existence of Navidson and the House is anyone's guess.


As a literary work I think it's better to approach it as not just literature (wherin it becomes little more than a post-modernist horror tale) but as a piece of visual art. In some ways the text almost seems to become a graphic novel to me, as the typography helps to enhance the narrative.

I have heard mixed things about Only Revolutions. Is it worth it?
'Gehȳrst þū, sǣlida, hwæt þis folc segeð?
hī willað ēow tō gafole gāras syllan,
ǣttrynne ord and ealde swurd,
þā heregeatu þe ēow æt hilde ne dēah.

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby a386 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:21 pm UTC

i think only revolutions is worth it. also! the typography-as-art, i think my favorite thing that it did was play with the speed that you read the book at. like if there was one word per-page it could make you fly through it, and then that would be happening while someone was running from something and it would compliment the frantic feeling, and then you could slam into a wall of text.
Spoiler:
there was a page of all-black that made me jump.

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby VislorTurlough » Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:54 am UTC

a386 wrote:i think only revolutions is worth it. also! the typography-as-art, i think my favorite thing that it did was play with the speed that you read the book at. like if there was one word per-page it could make you fly through it, and then that would be happening while someone was running from something and it would compliment the frantic feeling, and then you could slam into a wall of text.
Spoiler:
there was a page of all-black that made me jump.

for me the most startling was the after I had gotten used to the super-large text of 'Tom's Story', when it went back to tiny text, i got a chilling sence of claustrophobia and panic

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:22 am UTC

VislorTurlough wrote:
a386 wrote:i think only revolutions is worth it. also! the typography-as-art, i think my favorite thing that it did was play with the speed that you read the book at. like if there was one word per-page it could make you fly through it, and then that would be happening while someone was running from something and it would compliment the frantic feeling, and then you could slam into a wall of text.
Spoiler:
there was a page of all-black that made me jump.

for me the most startling was the after I had gotten used to the super-large text of 'Tom's Story', when it went back to tiny text, i got a chilling sence of claustrophobia and panic


Exploration #5 or whatever the last one is, with Navidson and his little tiny boxes of text, gradually getting smaller.
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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Jesse » Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:29 am UTC

What about the idea that the entire book is linked to the short story he tells referred to as The Atrocity?

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Re: Mark Z. Danielewski

Postby Surgery » Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:56 am UTC

Jesse wrote:What about the idea that the entire book is linked to the short story he tells referred to as The Atrocity?


I've never heard that theory. Could you expound?


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