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House of Leaves (2000)

by Mark Z. Danielewski

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,212305357 (4.11)2 / 495
Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children. Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices. The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.… (more)
  1. 171
    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. 91
    The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (Liyanna)
  3. 50
    The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier (PandorasRequiem)
  4. 30
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Gravity's Rainbow = paranoia House of Leaves = claustrophobia
  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
    S. by Doug Dorst (PaulBerauer)
  7. 20
    The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan (ligature)
  8. 31
    Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (fundevogel)
  9. 20
    Vellum by Hal Duncan (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For a sincere ambition to figure out what the hell is going on.
  10. 10
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (sduff222)
  11. 10
    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.
  12. 10
    Dave Made a Maze by Bill Watterson (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Both works deal with a strange and deadly labyrinth that's bigger on the inside.
  13. 21
    Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber (guyalice)
    guyalice: The mysterious basement and the unending staircase draw parallelisms.
  14. 10
    Chunnel Surfer II by Scott Maddix (aaronius)
    aaronius: Another experimental narrative that takes you different places than ordinary fiction.
  15. 00
    Icelander by Dustin Long (sduff222)
  16. 00
    House of Stairs by William Sleator (Cecrow)
  17. 00
    You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann (amanda4242)
  18. 00
    The Way Inn by Will Wiles (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: Another book with a protagonist who is deeply unsettled by the seemingly infinite building he is living in.
  19. 12
    The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien (owen1218, ateolf)
    owen1218: It seems to have been influenced by this book.
  20. 14
    BLAME!, Vol. 1 by Tsutomu Nihei (Anonymous user)

(see all 20 recommendations)

Romans (45)
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English (294)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (304)
Showing 1-5 of 294 (next | show all)
Second time I've tried to read this and I just can't get into it.
  ellehaze | Nov 3, 2020 |
While I appreciate the complexity and inventiveness, story-wise it was ultimately disappointing. ( )
  captainsunbeam | Oct 16, 2020 |
I kind of hate contributing to the hype on this book, because on some days it drives me crazy and I think it's just a big hoax. But: I love this book, it's doing incredibly clever, inventive things; it works as a horror story exactly to the extent that you immerse yourself in its layered narrative. Will probably work best for you if you have some kind of love of the post-modern in some form; there are semi-comedic threads here that only work if you've spent some time in academia. Just an amazing accomplishment.

Weird & Wonderful discussion notes: http://positronchicago.blogspot.com/2016/09/weird-wonderful-house-of-leaves.html ( )
  jakecasella | Sep 21, 2020 |
One of the weirdest books you’ll ever read and it looks like he put a tremendous effort into pulling it off. Does he succeed? Not for me, he doesn’t.

This book screams gimmick from the very get go. You can’t help but pull it off the shelf and leaf through it, so bizarre is its layout. While it starts off in a reasonably orthodox style and layout, things start to get increasingly weird as Danielewski starts mucking around with fonts, colours (in my edition), page layout and blurring the lines between fictitious non-fiction.

It starts out really well with a guy discovering a whole bunch of writings some old recluse left when he died. The story then splits into the guy writing about his own life and the story he’s attempting to piece together from these writings. At this point, you’re entirely hooked. Danielewski has got you turning pages like there’s no tomorrow… then it all kind of pans into nothingness.

While “House of leaves” is an obvious metaphor for a book, there is an actual house which forms the central character of the book. But if you know anything at all about The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist, you’ll know that there’s little original here.

Danielewski has simply taken the plot of many a horror story with a suburban family settling into a new home with their kids and dog and then decided to let a monkey manage the typesetting.

Meanwhile the house demonstrates no respect for the normal dimensions of space. The sequences where owner Will Navidson and his intrepid friends attempt to map these dimensions are the best bits and, early on, I actually thought this book might scare me. Unfortunately, it did not, mostly because nothing really happens which after building so much suspense was, well, unforgivable really.

I think Danielewski had a real chance to write a fantastic horror story here. Instead, I think creativity with the scissors got in the way of creativity with the plot. ( )
  arukiyomi | Sep 2, 2020 |
A wonderful labyrinthine multitude of stories and pathways that reads more like an artwork than a book[1]. The sheer level of investment into writing what is essentially nothing at all is a fascinating experiment and has produced a monumental book.

[1] Also a psychological thriller, honed by the relationship to the abyss and the maze, and the crass notes of one Mr. Johnny Truant ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 294 (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 (5 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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People/Characters
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Important events
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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
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

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Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children. Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices. The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
A blind old man, a young apprentice working in a tattoo shop, and a mad woman haunting an Ohio institute narrate this story of a family that encounters an endlessly shifting series of hallways in their new home, eventually coming face to face with the awful darkness lying at its heart.

The “1st Edition” was on-line; thus, the first printed book is the 2nd Edition.
Haiku summary
One creepy closet,
Holds plenty of shoes, coats and
Navidson Records

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Average: (4.11)
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