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Monday, 21 February 2011

House of Leaves - The Navidson Record - Part XV

Hi guys. Well, last update was certainly melancholy, so hopefully this chapter will at least have a bit of action/horror to cheer us up, as it were.
We begin the chapter with Karen in New York, 4 months after the events in the house. It's also been 4 months since she saw Navidson who is still down at the house with Reston; quite why neither Karen nor I are sure. While she's in New York, she's been taking care of the kids and the film, creating a short film from it based around Holloway's tape. Apparently, having sent out copies of it to people, we're about to get the transcript of some of the responses that she made into a short film. There's an interesting array of people so far: critics, psychologists, architects, playwrights and mathematicians to name but a few. And they all look at it from different perspectives. The critics and those connected to the arts seem to be convinced the least of it's authenticity, treating it as if it were a text to be analysed and viewed critically, whereas the architect and the more science-based professionals seem to be looking at the practical ramifications of the house; particularly interesting, which surprised me a bit, was the architect, who is very concerned with what kind of materials the walls would be built from and what kind of foundation it would have to have, and stuff like that, which you tend to forget in the general freakiness of the place. One other thing that I find interesting, or at the very least is amusing me to no end, is that there are responses from Anne Rice, Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick; I don't know if I can really think of people more able to talk about weirdness. And it has now taken the cake by having Hunter S Thompson of all people tell Karen:
  • "You need to lay off the acid, the mescaline, or whatever else you're snorting, inhaling, ingesting"
The irony is just too much.
So we get to the end of this transcript and Johnny's just chipped in. He gets a call from Thumper, who tries to convince him to visit, but his mental image of her is marred by the fact that he knows almost nothing about her as a person; weirdly enough, I think this bit of character development, despite showing how bad his condition is that even Thumper can't lure him outside, is rather positive in a way. I mean, while I suppose it's normal to get crushes on people without knowing them that well, it's nice to see him looking at the more personal side of things. Then the phone company disconnects his line, leaving Johnny alone again. It can only get worse from here, I imagine.
We go back to Karen, who's made another short film as well, entirely devoid of the house itself. This short film seems to be about Navidson, and hopefully about his relationship with Karen before things went so horribly wrong. Anyway, it starts off with a load of home videos from Navidson's childhood; it seems a lot more idyllic and sweet here, which makes it seem sadder somehow, like it emphasises the innocence he lost. It's followed by photos that Navidson himself took, images of war and suffering. It's really uncomfortable to read to be honest; it's a little closer than I'm used to getting with characters when reading. And it's finally shown who Delial is: she's a little girl dying from starvation as a vulture comes up to eat her. Fun.

So ultimately the chapter ends on a similar melancholy note, but did start off with an interesting look at the house from various different perspectives. From what I read about these short films being the break in the Navidson Record, I think we'll probably be back in the house proper in the next chapter. Quite what Navidson and Reston are still doing there, I have no idea.

Signing off,

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