Pet theory #1

I have a number of pet theories about a variety of subjects. One of them is about the book House of Leaves. Last time I was in Chicago I wandered down to the little coffee shop in the library and they were playing Poe’s Haunted, which reminded me of the book, which Andy and I read a couple of years ago. It’s one of those books that leave a lot of questions unanswered and loose ends untied-up, and hence lends itself to pet theories. Here’s mine (spoiler, perhaps):

The entire book is written by Johnny Truant’s mother. Her son Johnny died as a baby. There is a reference someplace in the book to an accident in which the baby is injured, perhaps by the mother on purpose. It’s implied, since Truant is the narrator of the book, that he recovered, and that the mother later went insane and writes letters to her son which are incorporated into the book. I think the baby died, the mother already was or then became a paranoid schizophrenic and made up the whole book, her son’s life as an adult and his encounters with the Navidson story. This would explain some parallels between the letters and other parts of the book–common misspellings etc; and also Johnny’s last name which probably isn’t his real one. It’s been a while since I read the book so can’t remember any other specifics, but I had it all schemed out at one time.

One Response to “Pet theory #1”

  1. jrau says:

    Have you checked out the forums on the official (I think) book website?
    I wonder if anyone else shares your theory.
    As for the mother-as-author theory, I don’t know if I’m 100% convinced, but it does seem to fit. The two biggest pieces of evidence for that being the case (that I noticed, at least) are a) identical, deliberate mispellings of words in both the main narrative and in the collection of letters from the mother, and b) the epilogue about the mother and dying child (one of the most beautiful and moving passages in the book, in my opinion).
    The mother-as-author theory would probably change a lot of my understanding of the book; I’d really have to re-read it to judge whether I think the theory fits or not. I just don’t remember enough details.
    Amazing book. And an interesting theory!

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