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Sunday, 27 March 2011

House of Leaves - Appendix: Zampano

Hi guys, back again and hoping to get a fair chunk of what's left of House of Leaves done today. While it's been interesting, I'm in the mood for something a bit different now, so I'll be trying to get this done fairly quickly.
So we start this set of appendices with a note from Johnny Truant announcing that this is material of Zampano's written outside of the Navidson Record, and is being included as something of a testament about his character, which has been largely absent even though he's the narrator for the majority of the novel.
So appendix A is a basic outline of the Navidson Record and some possible titles for the chapters. While possibly useful, it seems overall a bit redundant now. For one, this would have been more useful in the contents page and in terms of revealing more of Zampano's character, it basically just tells us that he wrote lots of notes for later use, which isn't all that much really.
Appendix B is titled "Bits", which I'm assuming means it's scraps of writing that don't really fit anywhere else. From what I've seen of the first page, it seems to be scraps from his diary, none of which really make sense on their own. He mentions having a son, although considering who's writing I'm not sure whether this is a literal or metaphorical son. I'm plumping for the former, but not without hesitation. He also mentions someone's life as a commitment-phobe, who eventually wants to start a long-term relationship but fails miserably because he's never known what to do; Zampano doesn't mention who "he" is but I get an odd feeling that he might be talking about himself. There's a real sense of loneliness about him in some of these later scraps of diary entries, which is sort of sad, but then I don't think I've gotten to know him that well yet for me to feel too sorry for him. His last entry is presumably the last thing he wrote before he died, and seems oddly hopeless even if it is a tad oblique. There's a hint that he's been writing to someone, but no hint as to who they are or why they're gone in the first place.
Appendix C is "...and Pieces" showing what appears to be a series of pictures. They seem to be photos of the original manuscript, which is appropriately messy considering Zampano's character. It's somewhat unlikely that it would have been read like this, considering how much publishers emphasise clean presentation in submissions, but I'll just have to take this with a pinch of salt.
Appendix D appears to be a letter to the Editor, that complains about an article that he read that was misinformed. An odd inclusion, but I'll run with it.
Appendix E is missing. I suppose I should've expected that.
Appendix F is a selection of poems that Zampano has presumably written himself. Seems an odd addition, but I suppose that poetry and imagery can reveal more than straight prose. The first, titled "That Place", is about a dragon that is there and perfectly threatening, but unnoticed by the majority of people; sounds like either the kind of paranoia that Johnny had or the Slender man. "The Panther" again seems to be concerned with a creature that is powerful and bloodthirsty, but is taken for granted by most, perhaps like the house. There's "Love at First Sight", which is pretty much what it says on the tin. There's an unnamed poem that seems to be about a lover. A second untitled poem depicts the disappearance of a mad hermit; perhaps a foreshadowing of his own death? A third unnamed poem is about the inconstancy of the world around us. "La Feuille" is entirely in French, so I'm afraid I have no idea what it actually means. "You Shall Be My Roots" is about the give and take of relationships, much like Navidson and Karen's relationship. Overall, some pretty good poetry, although it kind of makes me think that Navidson and Zampano could be indistinguishable really, seeing as these poems could apply to both of their stories or what we know of their pasts. Considering Navidson's probable non-existence in this book, maybe they are effectively the same person? But then that's me probably getting too much into sub-text.

Overall, an interesting chapter at times, but what could have been quite unsatisfying was saved by some very good poetry.

Signing off,

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