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House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
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House of Leaves (2000)

by Mark Z. Danielewski

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,827227341 (4.14)2 / 359
  1. 130
    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (macart3)
    macart3: Those who read the "House of Leaves" will recognize how the house also consumes people in "The Haunting of Hill House" and the feeling that there is something unearthly inhabiting the house.
  2. 70
    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (Torikton)
    Torikton: Danielewski and Wallace both satirize academic writing by playing with footnotes.
  3. 81
    The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (Liyanna)
  4. 40
    The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier (PandorasRequiem)
  5. 30
    At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien (Fenoxielo)
    Fenoxielo: At Swim-Two-Birds is the grand-daddy of all meta-fiction and House of Leaves owes a great deal to it.
  6. 20
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Gravity's Rainbow = paranoia House of Leaves = claustrophobia
  7. 20
    Vellum: The Book of All Hours by Hal Duncan (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For a sincere ambition to figure out what the hell is going on.
  8. 10
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (sduff222)
  9. 10
    S. by Doug Dorst (Kordo)
  10. 10
    Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (fundevogel)
  11. 10
    Chunnel Surfer II by Scott Maddix (aaronius)
    aaronius: Another experimental narrative that takes you different places than ordinary fiction.
  12. 10
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (ligature)
  13. 00
    Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Great experimental works where you get something different from the book depending on the order in which you read its pieces.
  14. 00
    Icelander by Dustin Long (sduff222)
  15. 11
    Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber (guyalice)
    guyalice: The mysterious basement and the unending staircase draw parallelisms.
  16. 01
    The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien (owen1218, ateolf)
    owen1218: It seems to have been influenced by this book.
  17. 04
    BLAME!, Vol. 1 by Tsutomu Nihei (Anonymous user)
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English (216)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (227)
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
I DID IT! I somehow got through this book despite being scared as fuck to read it at night, but i pulled through and DID IT!

House of Leaves is a total mind fuck. It several stories in one. The main one being around Karen Green & Will Navidson moving into a house that is bigger inside than it is outside. It causes additional strain on their marriage and they are documenting the strange addition to their house as Navidson and a team of men go explore the darkness. Except this is actually a movie, that isn’t real and created by an older blind man, Zampanò in his book that is analyzing the Navidson movie. He does into great detail to make the movie seem like it actually existed, he uses a mixture of real sources and made up ones (including fake interviews with Stephen King) to pull this off. Except Zampano is dead and his work got into the hands of Johnny Truant who decides to edit and add his own notes about his life and his findings. His life spins out of control and he’s wondering if its happening because of the book. Confusing right? But it’s not! The notations and fonts really keep you on track of what is happening to who. I don’t think there was a moment where I was confused.

The book is fucking scary, but it’s also about relationships, the main one being the relationship between Karen Green and Will Navidson (husband & wife), the strain before the house, the additional problems because of the house and then eventually clarity that leads to repairing their bond. The other focus is on what the hell is going in the house, why is there this never ending room that expands and shrinks, multiple theories are thrown out there, but then you remember this is a novel about a novel about a fake movie that is being edited and the editor is also wondering is this somehow a real house and movie and is it making him crazy. He is not a reliable character at all and that just adds to it. Ultimately the ending is up in the air, the reader is left to make their own conclusions about Navidson’s house and Johnny (which is actually expected given some of the things said about the hallway, some people have to know and become obsess, while others can walk away from it and not care they don’t know the reason for it).

No doubt House of Leaves is intimidating, it is a long book and sounds complicated, but the layout of the book actually makes it shorter (many pages only have a few words), a good 200 or so pages are not part of the plot, but made up of index, exhibits and 2 appendixes. As for complicated, as I said I never felt confused about what was going on and was able to keep track. Mark Z. Danielewski is just a fantastic writer I guess, because I cannot believe he wrote something so in depth that was still easy to follow. It sucks you in, it plays with your mind and spits you out. Just amazing. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | Jun 28, 2015 |
I DID IT! I somehow got through this book despite being scared as fuck to read it at night, but i pulled through and DID IT!

House of Leaves is a total mind fuck. It several stories in one. The main one being around Karen Green & Will Navidson moving into a house that is bigger inside than it is outside. It causes additional strain on their marriage and they are documenting the strange addition to their house as Navidson and a team of men go explore the darkness. Except this is actually a movie, that isn’t real and created by an older blind man, Zampanò in his book that is analyzing the Navidson movie. He does into great detail to make the movie seem like it actually existed, he uses a mixture of real sources and made up ones (including fake interviews with Stephen King) to pull this off. Except Zampano is dead and his work got into the hands of Johnny Truant who decides to edit and add his own notes about his life and his findings. His life spins out of control and he’s wondering if its happening because of the book. Confusing right? But it’s not! The notations and fonts really keep you on track of what is happening to who. I don’t think there was a moment where I was confused.

The book is fucking scary, but it’s also about relationships, the main one being the relationship between Karen Green and Will Navidson (husband & wife), the strain before the house, the additional problems because of the house and then eventually clarity that leads to repairing their bond. The other focus is on what the hell is going in the house, why is there this never ending room that expands and shrinks, multiple theories are thrown out there, but then you remember this is a novel about a novel about a fake movie that is being edited and the editor is also wondering is this somehow a real house and movie and is it making him crazy. He is not a reliable character at all and that just adds to it. Ultimately the ending is up in the air, the reader is left to make their own conclusions about Navidson’s house and Johnny (which is actually expected given some of the things said about the hallway, some people have to know and become obsess, while others can walk away from it and not care they don’t know the reason for it).

No doubt House of Leaves is intimidating, it is a long book and sounds complicated, but the layout of the book actually makes it shorter (many pages only have a few words), a good 200 or so pages are not part of the plot, but made up of index, exhibits and 2 appendixes. As for complicated, as I said I never felt confused about what was going on and was able to keep track. Mark Z. Danielewski is just a fantastic writer I guess, because I cannot believe he wrote something so in depth that was still easy to follow. It sucks you in, it plays with your mind and spits you out. Just amazing. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | Jun 28, 2015 |
This book!

House of Leaves is like reading a horror novel which is also an academic satire which is also an art installation which is also crazy talk.

I have lugged this tome with me on the train every day this week, and I have sat in the train car and turned the book at all sorts of crazy angles to read it, and I have flipped through exhibits and appendices, and probably multiple people thought actually I was the crazy one, because this book is amazing. Reading it is immersive. I never knew where it was going, but I was strapped into the roller coaster.

It is not an easy book to read; it requires time and effort. It requires flipping the book around to read upside down and it requires hoping/guessing that things will be explained later, most but not all of which are. There are many threads to keep track of. But it is so worth the work. Highly recommended. ( )
  sparemethecensor | May 9, 2015 |
House of Leaves is a bit of a contradiction. It’s a highly experimentally formatted highly conservative and straightforward story. The ostensible nature of the book is that it’s an account of a film about a house in which the laws of physics are arbitrary, written by an eccentric named Zampanò. It features a dual narrative of footnotes by a person who is interested in Zampanò named Johnny Truant, who feels the effects of the story sometimes in profound ways.

Getting down to the technicalities, the book is almost predictably inconsistent. There are parts of both Johnny Truant’s story and “The Navidson Record”, Zampanò’s account of events surrounding photojournalist Will Navidson, that are extremely bad. At times “The Navidson Record” lapses into telegraphing its plays with contrived, unreal dialogue such as when Navidson and his girlfriend, Karen, take time-outs to speak into their cameras about how they feel about each other or when people exclaim in the five and a half minute hallway, which is the scary part of the house. For a book that’s meant to be scary, I don’t think I’ve ever felt less fear.

Johnny Truant’s story has little to do with “The Navidson Record” and when he gets “poetic” things get downright sticky. I read the quotes in the back of the book and the adjective “postmodernist” was used. If you’re looking for good postmodern literature check out Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman. All this being said, what’s good about the book?

Well, I’m going to give some massive points for the experimental layouts of the pages. They are genuinely fun regardless of how obvious they may be. On top of that, the amount of information from both fake and real sources presents a veritable playground with voices that run in agreement, concurrence, contrary, contradictory, and outright non-sequiturially to each other. The notes, the descriptions of the house, and the lay-outs are where the book really shines. Some of the lists end up getting a little too long and pointless, but all of the complaints I’ve had are thankfully only small components of the book.

Ultimately the flaws are too numerous for the book to be considered a flawed masterpiece or perhaps even a great work but it is certainly worth the read if you’re looking for the right things. ( )
  Salmondaze | Mar 24, 2015 |
Johnny Truant searches an apartment for his friend and finds an academic study of a documentary film called The Navidson Record. This film investigates the phenomenon of the Navidson’s house where the house is larger inside than the outside. Initially it’s less than an inch difference but it keeps growing. The only problem with all of this is there is no evidence of this documentary ever existing. The book House of Leaves is that academic study (with all the footnotes) mixed with Johnny’s interjections, transcripts from the documentary and anything else.

This debut novel of Mark Z. Danielewski tries to mix a horror novel with some romance and satire but it mainly focuses on just how unreliable a narrator can be. I’ll be honest with you; I struggled to work out if I should review this as a piece of literature or as art, so I’ve done both and you can find my art review on Knowledgelost. Danielewski has really come up with a unique idea here, it’s almost the literary equivalent of The Blair Witch Project; there is a lot happening on the pages but the reader never gets a full grasp on what is actually happening.
The first 150 pages of this book were quite enjoyable, there were some funny moments and it gave you a real feel for what was going on. But then everything turns completely weird and I found myself raging and sometimes going insane. This is by no means an easy book to read, more of an exploration in the postmodern idea of Post-structuralism. I don’t pretend to understand postmodern literature but it was interest to see what Mark Z. Danielewski does in this book.

You’ll either love or hate this genre blending novel; for me, I hated the story. I think my wife got more enjoyment out of watching me rage than I did with reading it. House of Leaves is known as Ergodic literature, which requires the reader to navigate the text in a non-traditional way; this is the first time I’ve seen a book like this. Everyone will have a different interpretation of this novel, so I would love to hear what others thought. Also make sure you check my post about this book as an art form.

This post originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2012/11/29/book-of-the-month-house-of-leaves/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Mar 16, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
House of leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski runs to 710 pages: 13 pages of introduction, 535 of text, followed by three appendices and a 42-page, triple-column index.
added by KayCliff | editThe Indexer, Hazel K Bell (Aug 4, 2009)
 
... let me say right off that his book is funny, moving, sexy, beautifully told, an elaborate engagement with the shape and meaning of narrative. For all its modernist maneuvers, postmodernist airs and post-postmodernist critical parodies, ''House of Leaves'' is, when you get down to it, an adventure story: a man starts traveling inside a house that keeps getting larger from within, even as its outside dimensions remain the same. He is entering deep space through the closet door.
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Danielewski, Mark Z.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Santen, Karina vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuenke, ChristaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vosmaer, MartineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
This is not for you.
First words
I still get nightmares. In fact I get them so often I should be used to them by now. I'm not. No one ever really gets used to nightmares.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Some deep shit -- for readers with thick skins and wide open minds. A schitzoid, barely sober tattoo artist tries to amass his intellect upon the fractured manuscripts of a dead, blind man. Said documents purport the fictitious story/ filming of a photographer's family and their shape-shifting, undulating house. Add in some wanton sex, a need for fumigation, two rambunctious kids, creative typesetting and some unspeakable horror -- and there you have it... HOUSE OF LEAVES.
Haiku summary
One creepy closet,
Holds plenty of shoes, coats and
Navidson Records

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375703764, Paperback)

Had The Blair Witch Project been a book instead of a film, and had it been written by, say, Nabokov at his most playful, revised by Stephen King at his most cerebral, and typeset by the futurist editors of Blast at their most avant-garde, the result might have been something like House of Leaves. Mark Z. Danielewski's first novel has a lot going on: notably the discovery of a pseudoacademic monograph called The Navidson Record, written by a blind man named Zampanò, about a nonexistent documentary film--which itself is about a photojournalist who finds a house that has supernatural, surreal qualities. (The inner dimensions, for example, are measurably larger than the outer ones.) In addition to this Russian-doll layering of narrators, Danielewski packs in poems, scientific lists, collages, Polaroids, appendices of fake correspondence and "various quotes," single lines of prose placed any which way on the page, crossed-out passages, and so on.
Now that we've reached the post-postmodern era, presumably there's nobody left who needs liberating from the strictures of conventional fiction. So apart from its narrative high jinks, what does House of Leaves have to offer? According to Johnny Truant, the tattoo-shop apprentice who discovers Zampanò's work, once you read The Navidson Record,
For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You'll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you'll realize it's always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won't understand why or how.
We'll have to take his word for it, however. As it's presented here, the description of the spooky film isn't continuous enough to have much scare power. Instead, we're pulled back into Johnny Truant's world through his footnotes, which he uses to discharge everything in his head, including the discovery of the manuscript, his encounters with people who knew Zampanò, and his own battles with drugs, sex, ennui, and a vague evil force. If The Navidson Record is a mad professor lecturing on the supernatural with rational-seeming conviction, Truant's footnotes are the manic student in the back of the auditorium, wigged out and furiously scribbling whoa-dude notes about life.
Despite his flaws, Truant is an appealingly earnest amateur editor--finding translators, tracking down sources, pointing out incongruities. Danielewski takes an academic's--or ex-academic's--glee in footnotes (the similarity to David Foster Wallace is almost too obvious to mention), as well as other bogus ivory-tower trappings such as interviews with celebrity scholars like Camille Paglia and Harold Bloom. And he stuffs highbrow and pop-culture references (and parodies) into the novel with the enthusiasm of an anarchist filling a pipe bomb with bits of junk metal. House of Leaves may not be the prettiest or most coherent collection, but if you're trying to blow stuff up, who cares? --John Ponyicsanyi

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

One of the most acclaimed fiction debuts of 2000, national best-seller House of Leaves influenced, and was influenced by, the music of POE, Mark Z. Danielewski's sister. Her highly anticipated new album, Haunted, which includes many songs inspired by House of Leaves, will be released in September 2000 by Atlantic Records.… (more)

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