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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

House of Leaves - The Navidson Record - Part XVI

So, after a couple of chapters ending on melancholy notes, hopefully we'll get a chapter that's a bit more focused on the horror elements of it.
So we start with a quote from Einstein about maths. Quite what this has to do with the house or this particular chapter, I'm not sure. Anyway, the chapter seems to be dedicating itself to figuring out what exactly the house is, and not just how it affects the people in it. Looking at the actual facts of the place, it's kind of underwhelming really: after all the turmoil and horror it's caused, it feels like there should be more to it. But no, at its most basic level, all we can say about the house is that it has no light, humidity, air movement or sound (apart from the roar), the walls and ceilings are uniformly black, with no decoration of any kind, the size and shape can change at will, items left in there will be lost and 3 people have died in there at the current count. So not that much really. We're pretty much left with the wall samples that Holloway collected whilst he was still (partially) sane.
So Navidson has taken all the samples in to be tested (for what isn't made clear), making it quite an expensive undertaking really. The samples are lined up and apparently appear to be a mixture of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, but before we can get anything particularly definite, there's a note saying that there are 2 pages missing. Wonderful. The next available pages are mostly crossed out with the occasional fragment of a word poking through. The footnotes seem to be mostly untouched, so I will endeavour to figure out what the main narrative is going on about. Well, for the most part it's geology stuff that I don't really understand, but there was one part which is quite interesting:
  • "As O'Geery indicates to Navidson, several of the XXXX samples also appear to have ages predating the formation of the Earth."
Now that is certainly weird, and makes for a few logistical problems really. There are also a few footnotes regarding meteorites, so maybe it's aliens. If it is, then I think I may feel just a little bit cheated. Now there's another 17 pages missing, which is apparently Johnny's fault from accidentally spilling a bottle of ink on them. Not that I think I would have understood the science stuff anyway; I was always better at Biology.
Anyway, when the narrative reappears in full, it turns out that the samples seem to get older the further into the house they go, the last sample being older than the solar system. Interesting as this is, however, I'm not really sure what this really tells us about the house. I mean, okay, the rock it's made of is old and possibly made of meteorites: what use is that to us really? It looks as if Navidson's test results will turn up later in the book, somewhere in his extra material, but according to Johnny that's gone missing entirely, so we'll never actually know what was in those ink-soaked pages. Again, not that I would've understood it. Johnny continues his footnote to talk about what would have happened if he'd actually gone to the psychiatry sessions. His theory? That they'd diagnose him with a mental illness and either send him home or put him in an institute. He's certainly not sounding particularly healthy. Although looking at his recollections of his mum, it doesn't sound like sound mental health runs in the family, considering she tried to choke him as a child.
Anyway, back to the main narrative, where Navidson seems to be using the samples to cope with the losses of Tom and Karen. And that's where it cuts off. Somehow that seemed really unfinished and just feels weird to end it there.

Anyway, an interesting chapter, although a bit choppy and a fair bit of the geology stuff was beyond me. Hopefully the actual house will return next chapter. There have been hints this chapter, so I'm hopeful.

Signing off,

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