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House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
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House of Leaves (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Mark Z. Danielewski

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,425217368 (4.15)2 / 325
Member:jeffbx
Title:House of Leaves
Authors:Mark Z. Danielewski
Info:Pantheon (2000), Edition: 2nd, Paperback, 709 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)

  1. 110
    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. 81
    The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (Liyanna)
  3. 70
    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (Torikton)
    Torikton: Danielewski and Wallace both satirize academic writing by playing with footnotes.
  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. 10
    S. by Doug Dorst (Kordo)
  7. 10
    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
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (ligature)
  9. 10
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (sduff222)
  10. 10
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Gravity's Rainbow = paranoia House of Leaves = claustrophobia
  11. 10
    Chunnel Surfer II by Scott Maddix (aaronius)
    aaronius: Another experimental narrative that takes you different places than ordinary fiction.
  12. 00
    Icelander by Dustin Long (sduff222)
  13. 00
    Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (fundevogel)
  14. 11
    Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber (guyalice)
    guyalice: The mysterious basement and the unending staircase draw parallelisms.
  15. 00
    The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien (owen1218, ateolf)
    owen1218: It seems to have been influenced by this book.
  16. 04
    BLAME!, Vol. 1 by Tsutomu Nihei (Anonymous user)
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English (205)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (217)
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the formatting of this book as much as I enjoyed the story. As I realized a while back at Barnes & Noble, after I bought The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart at least half just for the cover design and texture, with the choice of ebooks, which are often cheaper than the solid kind, books need to offer something extra that you can't really reproduce in a purely electronic format. Definitely the case with House of Leaves--this is one book that just wouldn't work in another form. While the formatting got annoying on occasion (I'd open the book to one of the particularly screwy pages and just go, what the heck is this?), I enjoyed the novelty of it and how it worked with the story as a whole. Especially interesting was when the shape the words made followed the structure of the house or the movements of the characters--for example, when one character is moving through a hallway which is becoming progressively smaller, the text takes up a smaller and smaller rectangle in the center of each page until the space opens out. And the confusion of the mishmash of Zampano's manuscript, his footnotes, the footnotes of Truant and the editor, along with the strange formatting, is fitting because the subject itself is confusing.

Also, apart from the actual way the book was presented, I loved the way the story worked, too--the reader experiences at least five different stories simultaneously: the story of the Navidson Report, itself a documentary which doesn't, apparently, exist; the story of Zampano, caught in glimpses through his writing and what Truant can learn from the people who read to Zampano; Truant's experiences during his assembly of the manuscript into a book, which he narrates in footnotes which may take up several pages on their own; Truant's past, again through mentions in the footnotes and also through letters from his mother in the back of the book; and then there are the pasts of the secondary characters in Truant's life, along with the backstories of the characters of the Navidson Report itself. I don't know, just the fact of all these stories coming to the reader all at once throughout the book, just the idea of it is something I enjoy. ( )
  -sunny- | Jul 15, 2014 |
I enjoyed the formatting of this book as much as I enjoyed the story. As I realized a while back at Barnes & Noble, after I bought The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart at least half just for the cover design and texture, with the choice of ebooks, which are often cheaper than the solid kind, books need to offer something extra that you can't really reproduce in a purely electronic format. Definitely the case with House of Leaves--this is one book that just wouldn't work in another form. While the formatting got annoying on occasion (I'd open the book to one of the particularly screwy pages and just go, what the heck is this?), I enjoyed the novelty of it and how it worked with the story as a whole. Especially interesting was when the shape the words made followed the structure of the house or the movements of the characters--for example, when one character is moving through a hallway which is becoming progressively smaller, the text takes up a smaller and smaller rectangle in the center of each page until the space opens out. And the confusion of the mishmash of Zampano's manuscript, his footnotes, the footnotes of Truant and the editor, along with the strange formatting, is fitting because the subject itself is confusing.

Also, apart from the actual way the book was presented, I loved the way the story worked, too--the reader experiences at least five different stories simultaneously: the story of the Navidson Report, itself a documentary which doesn't, apparently, exist; the story of Zampano, caught in glimpses through his writing and what Truant can learn from the people who read to Zampano; Truant's experiences during his assembly of the manuscript into a book, which he narrates in footnotes which may take up several pages on their own; Truant's past, again through mentions in the footnotes and also through letters from his mother in the back of the book; and then there are the pasts of the secondary characters in Truant's life, along with the backstories of the characters of the Navidson Report itself. I don't know, just the fact of all these stories coming to the reader all at once throughout the book, just the idea of it is something I enjoy. ( )
  -sunny- | Jul 15, 2014 |
This book . . . please, let us never speak of it again. ( )
  Jenna.Czaplewski | Jul 3, 2014 |
House of Leaves defies standard categorisation: it marks the resurgence of the concept novel and a hallmark of the New Weird, Danielewski has written a bizarre opus that is reminiscent of Pynchon, Nabokov and Borges combined.

But what's it really about? It's about a film maker who moves into a house with his family and decides to document all the sedate minutiae of suburban living. Yet on their return from a trip, the house is inexplicably 1/4 inch larger inside than outside. And that's only the beginning of the weirdness.

No, it's about an editor and film critic Zampanò who finds the record of a cult hit similar to the Blair Witch Project called The Navidson Record and writes a stellar commentary on it, exploring all its themes and motifs.

But it's also about a guy called Johnny Truant and his friend check out an apartment belonging to their recently-dead neighbour. They find among other weird things, a copy of a commentary on The Navidson Record written by Zampanò. In editing it, Truant discovers his everyday world becoming a lot darker and scarier than he ever knew possible.

Stylistically a maze itself, this novel is a tour-de-force of experimental writing and genre-hopping. Each time I have read it, there is something new to discover and as the reader delves deeper into the maze, even more bizarre things are found. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
Everybody else decided to read Infinite Jest this summer apparently (http://infinitesummer.org/) so I picked a different late 20th century too-clever-by-half book. I did so almost reluctantly, fearing from its description that it would be another cold, joyless, postmodern fish, but still curious. Much to my surprise, I’ve really enjoyed the ride.

A blind man writes an unfinished treatise on a film which he could never have seen even if it could have existed, which it could not (according to me—the various PsOV would have been technically impossible to achieve as they are described in the book) and does not, according to the character/co-narrator who discovers the treatise and becomes obsessed by it. The non-existent documentary film tells the story of a non-existent house that disobeys the laws of physics, and what happens to the family who moves into it and other characters who try unsuccessfully to conquer and map its dark, limitless, and distinctly unfriendly interior domain.

Once again the Gothic proves a good genre for intellectual game-playing, and Danielewski generously and humorously tips his hat to both filmic and literary practitioners of the Gothic as well as Gothic deconstructors like Borges and Kubrick. The prominence of typographic folderol will please font –freaks, the labyrinth motif will be fun for maze-freaks, the other scattered puzzles: acrostics, acronymics, number-games and so forth will please the folks who like those, and the whole thing from its satire of academic conventions to its form-is-content structure, layers of self-referentiality, puns, etymologies, classical quotations and word-games, as well as its exploration of absence and the impossibility of representing “reality” through either visual or textual means will be fun for grad students and deconstruction-freaks. And just as the house alters its dark labyrinth according to the person who tries to explore it, this book permits readers to take their own path through it. I stuck mostly to “Zampanò’s” text, the house story, not caring as much about his commentator “Johnny Truant’s” decaying LA rocker life, which is conveyed mostly in intrusive footnotes to the house/film treatise. In general I skipped ahead, backtracked, re-read after pre-reading, picked up enough of the reverberations between the two narrators, enjoyed the jokes and the references I caught, liked the epistemological quandaries it presents, and basically it all worked for me.

There’s even something heartfelt about House of Leaves, as there is in all the best books that play games with our expectations for narrative, from The Saragossa Manuscript through Ulysses to Gravity’s Rainbow. Unfortunately the heart in question is still that broken, lovelorn euro-hetero-male heart whose blood seems to be the main stream down which the Big Novel as form continues to flow, in spite of all the insurgents of different gender, sexuality, geography, etc., who’ve tried to claim it through the years. So its psychology is, well, I hate to say it, but adolescent at best. And its awareness of a social dimension beyond the tragedy of the fissioned nuclear family? Pretty much non-existent. But you can’t have everything in one book. Even if Big Novelists would like to think so.

Still, all in all, well worth the trip. And sorry for the “rosebud was his sled” moment, but a house of leaves is of course, a nice poetic way to describe a book, dontcha think?
( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 205 (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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:33 -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)

(summary from another edition)

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