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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
8,743225346 (4.14)2 / 353
Member:machshop
Title:House of Leaves
Authors:Mark Z. Danielewski
Info:Pantheon (2000), Edition: 2nd, Paperback, 709 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)

  1. 120
    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. 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.
  7. 20
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Gravity's Rainbow = paranoia House of Leaves = claustrophobia
  8. 10
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (ligature)
  9. 10
    Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (fundevogel)
  10. 10
    S. by Doug Dorst (Kordo)
  11. 10
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (sduff222)
  12. 10
    Chunnel Surfer II by Scott Maddix (aaronius)
    aaronius: Another experimental narrative that takes you different places than ordinary fiction.
  13. 00
    The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien (owen1218, ateolf)
    owen1218: It seems to have been influenced by this book.
  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. 04
    BLAME!, Vol. 1 by Tsutomu Nihei (Anonymous user)
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English (214)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (225)
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
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 |
This was an incredible read and I am kicking myself for not picking it up sooner. I was told about this book years ago--more than 5!--and for whatever reason, didn't get it until just now as a part of a reading challenge to pick a book that has been on my to-read list for over 2 years. (This one qualifies 3 times over!)

How to describe this book? The way it was described to me, I don't remember anything about the plot, just that it was a non-traditional book. That was enough to spark my interest, maybe it is for you too. While you read this novel, you will read what the novel is, but then also read the story (and rantings) of the man to found the unpublished novel and it took over his life. This book has footnotes, endnotes, literary references, quotes--everything that you would be more likely to find in a research paper than a novel. Which is part of what makes it so great. There are pages where the footnotes are several pages long (and completely unrelated to the main novel). There are pages with so many words, then pages with maybe only a few. There are pages where the text is not traditionally placed and you cannot read it from left to right. You may need to read it with the aid of a mirror, may need to turn the book on its left, right or completely upsidedown. But you won't be able to put this book down.

Maybe that is not enough to get you to read it, so here is the plot, which is twisted and interesting in its own right. There is a family (mom, dad, two kids) who move into a house. They discover that this house is odd--the dimensions on the outside are not what the dimensions are on the inside. It defies physics. How can the inside of the house be bigger than the outside?

So they begin to explore...and what they find is more and more disturbing. The 'novel' of this book is a report on the documentary made of this house and its exploration. Then there is the story of the man who wrote the novel, Zampano, a blind man who lived like a hermit locked in his house. Then there is the strange story of Johnny Truant, the man who finds Zampano's novel, notes and journals and becomes obsessed with getting it finished and published.

The book reminded me of watching a scary movie, like The Ring, where, once you watch it you are cursed unless you get someone else to read it. Try as he might have, Johnny was unable to give up the book, and he forfeited everything for it.

So read this. Read it because it is an interesting format that is unique. Read it because the plot is excellent. Read it because it will challenge your ability to read many story lines at once. Read it so I will not be cursed and unable to discuss with someone.

Read it. ( )
1 vote csweder | Jan 8, 2015 |
[non e' in vendita nè in scambio] Difficile uscire da questa casa con la stessa anima che avevamo prima di entrare. Qualcosa di noi rimane nel labirinto di scrittura dei 3 autori (dichiarati) del libro, di cui 2 sono fittizi, e dei 1.000 e più autori citati (di cui non sappiamo esattamente il numero dei falsi). Qualcosa invece si attacca agli occhi, che della oscurità hanno seguito note su note, su commenti inesistenti, su cancellazioni, su ablazioni, su rimandi, in loop. Lentamente il documentario si srotola e si compone, emerge potente e pauroso dalle pagine incomponibili, squarcia una ipotesi di cui neppure nelle nostre peggiori notti potevamo ammetterne l'esistenza. Un inchino ammirato al regista per la maestria del montaggio, della soggetto, della sceneggiatura, delle musiche, dei contenuti speciali. Del silenzio e del buio, che segue anche dopo la lettura. Ossessivamente. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
Weirdest. Book. Ever. ( )
  polaris1265 | Nov 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 214 (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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