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Sunday, 27 February 2011

House of Leaves - The Navidson Record - Part XVIII

And we're back again. Hopefully we will actually get to see the house in action again this time, even if the last chapter was pretty good.
So, we begin the chapter with Karen going back to the house, because Navidson was dumb enough to go back inside. Thankfully this time she's left the kids in New York so that they don't almost get killed again. I've decided that I like Karen's mum, if only for the fact that she believes:
  • "her daughter's trip will take her one step closer toward selling the house and suing Navidson."
It's a refreshingly practical view which no-one else seems to have taken throughout the entire narrative, plus I like the fact that her immediate reaction to her daughter's crisis is "sue him". Anyway, Karen's first stop is at the estate agent's, with a view to putting it on the market. The estate agent she talks to seems to have done some research on the house after she and Navidson went to get building plans, hoping to find something involving ghosts (which, to be fair, would be pretty cool). She says that she didn't find anything involving ghost sightings or any mysterious event specifically tied to the house, but she does mention the "Jamestown colony" which impacted on a fair bit of the surrounding area. Whatever that is. Hopefully there'll be some kind of explanation soon.
Apparently the Jamestown colony was an early settler's colony that was almost totally killed off in the winter of 1609-10. After that it was burnt down. And then abandoned. So overall, not a very lucky place. Quite how historically accurate this is I have no idea, mainly because I've never studied American history (apart from Cold War stuff). Regardless, a set of documents are found several years later recounting the fates of 3 men who went hunting in that winter of death and weren't too successful.
But, before we can make headway into this document, we get what looks to be a fairly substantial footnote from Johnny Truant. Firstly he's confused about the occasional use of f instead of s in the document (which the editor informs me is his confusing a long s for an f, which is a reasonable mistake in all honesty). Secondly, he's being evicted from his apartment so he's decided to travel to Virginia to see if he can find the house in question. A questionable plan in my view, but it's fairly plan to see that he went off the deep end a few chapters back. He goes around saying his goodbyes (which don't seem all that well received to be honest), but then can't find Lude. He eventually finds him in hospital, where he seems to have broken most of the bones in his body and face. Seems one of the recurring girls' (Kyrie I think) boyfriend has decided to beat the crap out of him because Kyrie had told him lies involving Johnny, Lude and the act of accosting. Anyway, it appears this may be th last we see of Johnny for a while now.
Back to the main narrative, with the hunters. They seem to have picked possibly the worst place to hunt as they see absolutely no living creatures other than their companions and it's pelting it down with snow. The document is quite short and fairly standard "hunting trip gone wrong" sort of scenario, apart from the last entry which reads (keeping in mind the f/s thing):
  • "Ftaires" We haue found ftaires!"
Somehow I think that might be the start of our house, or at least the creepy part of it. The fact that only 2 bodies were found is probably fairly significant.
So Karen finishes her meeting with the estate agent and goes back to the house, regardless of how much she hates it. I'm kind of hoping that this signals a re-union for Karen and Navidson, since it's obvious that they still love each other, but then I can't see it actually happening. Call it my inner romance fan, but I want to see them happy together. Anyway, she decides to explore the house in the day (the power having been cut off since the last time they were there). She looks around to find that the corridor has been reduced to the size of a cupboard, even with innocent white walls. It kind of presents her with a dilemma: no corridor means no having to face her claustrophobia, but then also no hope of finding Navidson. However, despite dwindling hopes, she decides to resume living in the house during the day, hoping to find Navidson coming back. And weirdly enough, she seems to be coming to terms with the house and Navidson's disappearance, as there's a long section describing how her smile has changed from something beautiful, but ultimately fake and defensive, to a less even smile that shows more of her character and actual feelings. In any case, after a month has passed since Navidson's disappearance, Karen says to Reston that she knows that he's still alive and that she's heard his voice through the walls. Now, suspending disbelief for a moment (not too difficult as quite a lot has been shown to be possible in that weird non-space) the question that occurs to me is how in the hell has Navidson survived that long with no supplies? It soon turns out that Karen might well be right, as Navidson's clothes, pack and video tapes are found in the children's bedroom one day. The chapter ends on a rather ominous note: as Karen rewinds one of the tapes in order to watch it, one of the walls behind her is consumed by black, just waiting for her to turn around. And now I'll have the heebie jeebies all night. Or at least I will if my neighbour decides to turn Madagascar off. Hooray for the little things.

A decent chapter with an excellent cliff-hanger. Looking forward to the next one immensely. Doubt I'll get it done tomorrow though.

Signing off,

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