Filed under: thoughtful | Tags: booking through thursday, finnegans wake, house of leaves, james joyce, mark z. danielewski, narrative structure
After reading some Booking Through Thursday posts on my Google Reader, I couldn’t resist participating. This week was for “most unusual book you’ve ever read” and thus far all of the posts I’ve read on it are about unique, unusual, and/or interesting narrative structure. In addition to short stories have I yet to express my love for the breaking and smashing and experimentation away from the linear story line? The books, it’s a tie, that stand out most for me are:
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski and Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. House of Leaves is a “horror” novel told in altering chapters of a detailed essay referred to as the Navidson Report and the effect this has on the narrator. It’s dark, creepy, and took awhile for me to love it. Not only does Danielewski break conventional narrative structure but also conventional spatial structure as text in the book regularly appears upside down, in circles, blocked off, etc. There’s even a “letter” written where the first letter of each word spells out a secret message. Seriously.
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce is considered unreadable by many, or at least, in the traditional sense. Anyone attempting to move from page one to the final page – I would have to question their sanity. So while I have yet to read Finnegan’s Wake in that since, it’s a book I regularly and randomly open and greatly enjoy. Eighty or more languages used throughout the book, complex story unfolding, and everything (at the very least) has a duel meaning.