A new novel from Mark Z. Danielewski would be a cause for celebration... so how much better is it that he's finished a 27-volume opus? In a new interview, he also explains why House Of Leaves won't be a movie.

The introspective, informative (and somewhat oddly capitalized) interview with Danielewski, conducted by Kasey Carpenter, appears over at Fight Club author Chuck Pahlaniuk's blog. The whole thing is well worth reading, to learn just how many publishers turned down House Of Leaves before someone was willing to bite. Not to mention, how Danielewski became disillusioned of his ideal that elves would appear and typeset the novel according to his extremely exacting demands. Especially fascinating, though, are his discussion of just how many inquiries about the film rights to House Of Leaves his agent has turned away:

MZD: ....We get offers, hundreds of offers a year, for House of Leaves.

KC: That's what I wanted to get to, the whole film option thing-

MZD: There's a lot of interest, but whatever.

KC: This is my theory based on what little I know about you, which is third hand at best - putting myself in your shoes I'd want it to be perfect, which is never going to happen.

MZD: Well whatever you say, and you are right, but… How many authors do you know that have major film offers, for a lot of money, and turn them down? For ten years. I think I'm crazy, is why I'm bringing it up.

KC: I don't know that you're crazy for turning them down.

MZD: I'm not independently wealthy.

And then there are the tantalizing hints about The Familiar, which he describes as "a 27 volume project," of which publishers will be receiving the first five volumes soon. Says Danielewski, "The story concerns a 12 year old girl who finds a kitten." He also explains that cats are very important to him — when his cat Sybil died, he didn't shave his beard until he finished "the rough draft of these manuscripts."

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Want more hints? Over at the House Of Leaves forum, fans found the event description for a talk that Danielewski will give at a museum in Cologne, Germany at the end of the month. They ran it through Google translate, and got this:

The question of mankind's dilemma "space" is addressed in the nomenclature of the natural, more precisely, by means of positioning of the animal as partners, adversaries, anecdote, lecturer, screen, allegory, alternate vessel, Guardian, difference, the indifferent, necessity, Prisoner , deity, unthinkably cipher, and finally as the human. It follows, of course, a wide range of topics, from the emotional topography of fear and hope on self-made surfaces of denial to nudity, Pelzfetischismus, mechanized support - but also medieval bestiaries, zoos, the pet industry (not to mention visual image idylls, animal photography and funny creatures on youtube). Attentive glances fall on thinkers such as Walton Ford, Giorgio Agamben, Valentino Braitenberg, Temple Grandin and perhaps Cesar Milan. Whether it actually Danielewski manages to pull all this together into a whole coherent field remains to be unclear. must Especially since this whole thing of course, include topics such as synthetic intelligence, speculative fiction and the architecture of fate. But he will have by the end of the presentation may be made clear why - with a consideration of the human space-dilemma among animal aspect - the nature of necessity now come to an end. Perhaps it is all this but even as a pompous excuse to talk about his cat.

There's way more at the link, especially if you follow the links in the article's 67 footnotes. [Chuck Palahniuk]

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