Permanent Ink Finger
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"There are many ways to enter House of Leaves," (M
This is from an interview with the author published in
Critique. Washington: Winter 2003. Vol. 44, Iss. 2; pg. 99, 37 pgs :
"MZD: Well, there are many ways to enter House of Leaves. Do you want to go by way of Johnny Truant or do you want to go by way of Johnny Truant's mother? Johnny is young and "hip" (at least to a certain degree), which means that most younger readers will find his pathway the easiest, certainly easier than Pelafina's way. But her voice is equally important, and for some readers her letters will prove the better path.
LM: They may be equally valid, but choosing one will necessarily affect the rest of your journey. In my own case, when I came across a footnote on page 72 indicating that readers feeling they can profit from a better understanding of Johnny's past should consult the letters written to him from his institutionalized mother in appendix II-E, I immediately did so. And once I finished her letters and returned to page 72, several things had occurred. First, it was now clearer to me that the author of this book had a much wider range of styles and voices than I had suspected up to that point. And second, throughout the rest of the novel, I was very aware that I now had a completely different perspective on Johnny Truant than if I had not turned from page 72 to appendix E. I was quite literally reading a different book from the one most other readers would be reading.
MZD: It's nice to find out that some readers have tried that particular route. But of course, most people won't read it that way. Many wait until the very end to read his mother's letters. Some people never read them. An advantage to publishing her letters separately is that they offer readers a way to recognize alternate approaches to moving through House of Leaves. So some readers are going to The Whalestoe Letters by thinking, okay, I thought that House of Leaves had to unfold through the route I originally took but now I see I can travel through it in an entirely different direction. In other words, with The Whalestoe Letters not only are you not reading this material at the end or the middle or even a third of the way through a much larger work, you're reading it at the very beginning. My hope is that at least a few readers will read The Whalestoe Letters and then decide to move on to House of Leaves."
Is anyone keen to read the letters first?