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Monday, 28 March 2011

House of Leaves - Appendix II: Johnny Truant

Hey guys, back again for what I believe will be another interesting but ultimately pointless chapter. To be honest, none of this stuff after the Navidson Record seems to actually be all that necessary; sure it's mildly interesting, but it feels a bit like a bloopers reel or making of documentary that's been tagged on to the end of a film, as opposed to being available elsewhere. But regardless, I'll still review them. It's only this and one more left anyway, so it's not that huge a task. So today's instalment is the appendix provided by our chief editor and crazy man Johnny Truant.
So section A is a selection of sketches and photos. Compared to Zampano's picture section, this is pretty cool, seeing as Johnny's tried to recreate certain sections of the house in his sketches. The polaroids are nothing special.
Section B is another selection of poems. Johnny really seems to like pelicans for some reason: there's a mention of pelicans in quite a few of the poem titles. They aren't making much sense. Maybe Johnny identifies with pelicans? Having just finished them, I can again say that they didn't make sense; no sense whatsoever. Oh well, I'd hoped for something a bit better, considering the quality of Zampano's poetry last chapter, but I suppose Danielewski has to write in character.
Section C seems to be another picture section. It's an odd couple of pages.
Section D is his father's obituary. Okay.... A little morbid, isn't it? One odd thing that the editors have omitted at Johnny's request is Johnny's name; I mean, I could have guessed that Truant wasn't his second name, but Johnny seemed normal enough that it could have been his actual name. So why wouldn't he want people to know his real name...?
Section E is a selection of Johnny's letters from his mother while she was in a mental institute. While they're quite sweet, there's also something a little unnerving about them. I can't put my finger on what it is, but there's just something off somehow. I think it might be the sheer effusiveness of them and the way she never seems to blame Johnny for anything that he does in his life; it's not a healthy way for a mother to treat her child, certainly in my opinion anyway. She seems to be getting more and more paranoid as the letters go along as well, which is making this all the creepier. I think the thing that concerns me most is the fact that she places her entire happiness on his letters, which is really rather scary; to have someone base their happiness on you is a lot to live up to really, especially if they're as close a relation as a mother. The letters continue up until the day that she hangs herself with her bed linen. Despite the fact that she was rather scary at times, I do feel quite sad at her death, which is more than I've felt for pretty much the entirety of the rest of the cast.
Section F is a collection of quotes, which I can't really see adding to this much. As little as they do add to the novel overall, there is one quote that I rather like:

  • "Love is not consolation, it is light." 
It's a little oblique, but it's nice all the same. Plus it's easy to believe, as long as it's the gentle sort of light, like the sort you get in an English spring. Well, that was my day's allowance of waxing lyrical.

But in any case, the quotes section ends this chapter. I'm pretty much going to repeat my judgement of last chapter: interesting at times, but not actually that necessary to the story.

Signing off,

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