Category: Books

House of Leaves: Appendix II-E, The Three Attic Whalestoe Institute Letters (May 8th, 1987)

I’ve picked up House of Leaves again, Mark Z. Danielewski’s debut novel and veritable puzzle of a book. I previously abandoned it because, as a horror novel, I was having some trouble sleeping after reading it, but I’ve wanted to read it for years and the new year seems like a good time to conquer my fears.

There’s plenty of discussion around the internet regarding the book, and plenty more people who, I’m sure, have decoded the book’s many coded messages. But I’m a stingy sort who likes to do things on my own, and I thought I’d log some of it here! The first of my challenges was a letter from Appendix II-E, sent to Johnny Truant from his mother; she suspects that the director of the Whalestoe Institute, where she is institutionalized, is intercepting her letters. She is able to send a private letter to Johnny via an attendant, telling him the key to her next letter: take only the first letter of each word, separate those letters into something coherent, and find her true message (the letter itself is pure nonsense). Therefore, it’s no significant discovery on my part, but more of a fun first challenge. Warning that this is a book of psychological horror, and the contents below may be troubling or triggering (esp. for rape victims).