Picture of author.

Mark Z. Danielewski

Author of House of Leaves

15 Works 20,654 Members 488 Reviews 102 Favorited

About the Author

Mark Z. Danielewski is the author of House of Leaves, The Whalestoe Letters, Only Revolutions, The Fifty Year Sword, and The Familiar. (Bowker Author Biography)
Image credit: Photo (c) Marion Ettlinger


Works by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves (2000) 15,802 copies, 377 reviews
Only Revolutions: A Novel (2006) 2,108 copies, 34 reviews
The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May (2015) 755 copies, 19 reviews
The Fifty Year Sword (2005) 654 copies, 28 reviews
The Whalestoe Letters (2000) — Author — 491 copies, 9 reviews
The Familiar, Volume 2: Into the Forest (2015) 306 copies, 5 reviews
The Familiar, Volume 3: Honeysuckle & Pain (2016) 211 copies, 5 reviews
The Familiar, Volume 4: Hades (2017) 155 copies, 3 reviews
The Familiar, Volume 5: Redwood (2017) 116 copies, 5 reviews
The Little Blue Kite (2019) 48 copies, 3 reviews
House of Leaves Pilot — Author — 1 copy
Clip 4 1 copy
Yapraklar Evi (2018) 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Danielewski, Mark Z.
New York, New York, USA
Places of residence
New York, New York, USA
Los Angeles, California, USA
Paris, France
Yale University (English Literature)
University of South Carolina (School of Cinema-Television)
Danielewski, Tad (father)
Poe (sister)
Short biography
Mark Z. Danielewski was born in 1966. House of Leaves is his debut.



House of leaves Mark Z. Danielewski in Thing(amabrarian)s That Go Bump in the Night (January 2009)
House of Leaves in Someone explain it to me... (March 2008)


Writing: 4
Characters: 4
Plot: 4
Setting: 5
Enjoyment: 4

House of Leaves combines multiple perspectives, primarily telling the stories of Navidson and Johnny. Navidson is a filmmaker who moves into a new house with his family only to find that the rules of the universe we all take for granted may not be so concrete within those walls. House of Leaves contains a manuscript that describes the films documenting their experiences within the house (as well as an irrational amount of "commentary" from experts after viewing the films). However, it also contains entries from Johnny, who finds the manuscript and seemingly reacts adversely to reading it.

It was genuinely really difficult to decide how I wanted to rate this book. While reading the sections about the Navidson family/house and some of Johnny's entries, I was extremely impressed by the writing. Mark Danielewski masters the projection of discomfort and foreboding onto the reader as opposed to relying on classic fear. The slow start really allowed for an unsettling feeling about the house by the time the first changes appeared. I found myself pausing and wondering, "Why am I so afraid of a door? Nothing substantial has happened yet." But in reality, sudden and unexplained changes to a home like that ARE substantial and difficult to wrap your mind around. The writing just allowed me to feel that reality. Similarly, the passages in which Johnny is clearly descending into psychosis are masterfully written. Word associations make it feel like the sentences should make sense, but they don't, which places a sense of confusion onto the reader that matches Johnny's.

The story itself was rather beautiful, especially the ending. ***spoiler*** Acceptance of one another and their impossible circumstances is what ultimately led to the recovery of the Navidson family. They didn't recover in a way that erased their past. Instead, they each hold their own scars from both the house and their lives prior, including the memories of those they lost along the way. ***end of spoiler***

However, I did find parts of this book rather slow, which made it difficult to pick it back up again after breaks (especially Johnny's repeated sexual exploits). While I enjoyed the concept of fake citations in the footnotes at first, trying to read through them slowed down the story and broke immersion a lot. I also felt like, while the format of the book is very creative, it was needless at times. It began to feel like some of the strange spacing was put there just to be different, and codes were added just for the sake of more codes without adding any meaning.
… (more)
rosearia | 376 other reviews | Jul 18, 2024 |
enoikosges | 376 other reviews | Jul 16, 2024 |
The fact that this bullshit attempt at originality was ever published is the reason our world is fucked.
capincus | 376 other reviews | Jul 13, 2024 |

What to say...

Friends in my spec-fic book club have been talking about House of Leaves off and on for a while. I took one look and said, "not for me, babe." A few weeks later I was having drinks with some folks and one asked something to the effect of, "do you like ergodic literature?" After ensuring they hadn't said, "erotic literature," I replied, what the hell is ergodic literature?"

A while after that, I was in my neighborhood bookshop looking for a copy of something I can't remember. I was in a money-spending mood and saw House of Leaves poking out of the shelf, one copy, already a little removed. Is this for me?

I opened it up and thumbed through. One of the first pages proclaims, "This is not for you." Well, we can't have that, can we? But $30 for an odd book that I might hate? I was in the right mood for it.

I did a lot of chuckling as I read, because it started to teach me a lot about how I read and interact with books. A bit in, I caught myself writing a note, asking a question in the margin. I thought about that. Here I am, asking a question in the margin (asking who?) of a fiction novel that is essentially about an academic write-up of a movie that may or may not exist, about a house that may or may not exist, that may or may not (but definitely isn't) be cousin to The Doctor's TARDIS. Oh, and there are footnotes by not one, not two, but three different sources and connections to not one but two appendices.

It's just clever! I enjoyed engaging with the story. Decoding messages in an appendix after reading 50 pages of someone's descent into mania and psychosis - why not? But decoding a second message in the same place? That practice making everything else suspect (do the dropcaps mean anything? Does the translation say what the editors, what JT, says???).

All very, very, fun for me. I loved the constant in and out of the multiple stories, the intentional immersion breaking, the mystery. Nothing is true, but everything is true. Who can you trust? It's a work of fiction, what's it matter? Why are you flipping back to a piece of paper that's in a collage to identify a symbol, what are you some kinda nerd?

I had a really, really, good time reading this. I may have looked a nut rotating it and taking pictures and flipping them so I could read other parts, but it just tickled my fancy. I'll let other, smarter, folks talk about what it all means. I just had a good time.
… (more)
ThomasEB | 376 other reviews | Jul 4, 2024 |


Romans (1)
2010s (4)


You May Also Like

Associated Authors

Christa Schuenke Translator
Martine Vosmaer Translator
Eric Fuentecilla Cover designer



Charts & Graphs