Zacs Haunted House, a visual novel by Dennis Cooper comprised solely of gifs from the internet, has captured the interest and excitement of many over the course of the last year. On diving into the five chapter novel head first, I was lucky enough to be one of those who stood in awe, as we watched something revolutionary unfold. Caution is advised, as this novel is not for the faint of heart.
Moving from one still to another is as if the mind is imploding on its moral and rational self. When transitioning from the end of the second chapters imagery, where a man lay on the floor foaming at the mouth, to the beginning of the next, where a puppy, eager to walk for the first time, is falling over in excitement, one internally begs for mercy as the required mental agility, demanding a sort of cognitive asphyxiation, is quickly set in play. The viewer has little time to brace for the next succession of images and can only watch, mouth gaped and wide-eyed, to be in an able position of judgment.
As you embark down this audacious path of utmost intrigue, you find yourself curious about the character of the author. One can only assume the vivid imagery compiled in this novel is straight from the mind of a creatively morbid and mentally unrestricted individual. Upon further research, I came to that exact conclusion.
One may argue that words are no longer necessary or required to tell a story in todays era. And with about 300 images, author Dennis Cooper does fantastically what many an author may struggle to do on a daily basis: break through the mundane and exhaustingly irrelevant boundaries that authors are faced with, such as conforming to particular styles and content, to please an audience en masse.
Cooper, an American novelist, poet, editor and performance artist, has written many works, such as The Sluts and The Marbled Swarm and a novel series known as George Miles cycle. This particular novel, Zacs Haunted House is a mental and spiritual trip into the depths of the imaginative and unintelligible.
As a reader and a fan, I sincerely hope that Cooper continues to redefine what is considered socially and morally acceptable in the literary world, and is progressively able to impact the way we perceive the minds and enigmatic characters of artists everywhere.