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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 (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,502318364 (4.11)2 / 506
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)
Member:DarkHistoryNerd
Title:House of Leaves
Authors:Mark Z. Danielewski (Author)
Info:Pantheon (2000), Edition: 2nd, 709 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)

  1. 172
    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
    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.
  5. 30
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Gravity's Rainbow = paranoia House of Leaves = claustrophobia
  6. 20
    S. by Doug Dorst (PaulBerauer)
  7. 20
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (ligature)
  8. 20
    Vellum by Hal Duncan (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For a sincere ambition to figure out what the hell is going on.
  9. 31
    Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (fundevogel)
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 10
    Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (hubies)
    hubies: Piranesi is not scary, but in both books there is this mystifying, unpeopled world of impossible (and perhaps infinite) house-like space. Also: cryptic diary entries, unstable mind, short film as a plot device.
  13. 10
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (sduff222)
  14. 21
    Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber (guyalice)
    guyalice: The mysterious basement and the unending staircase draw parallelisms.
  15. 10
    Chunnel Surfer II by Scott Maddix (aaronius)
    aaronius: Another experimental narrative that takes you different places than ordinary fiction.
  16. 00
    House of Stairs by William Sleator (Cecrow)
  17. 00
    Icelander by Dustin Long (sduff222)
  18. 00
    You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann (amanda4242)
  19. 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.
  20. 12
    The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien (owen1218, ateolf)
    owen1218: It seems to have been influenced by this book.

(see all 21 recommendations)

Romans (45)
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» See also 506 mentions

English (307)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (318)
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
I'll need to think about this one for a while, but I can say that it isn't as good as it thinks it is.

Here are some other thoughts, in no particular order.

I made the mistake of looking at the wikipedia page on this one, to see if it was a book I would enjoy. It didn't really answer that question, but I saw a comment about how some felt HOL was a commentary about academic criticism. That colored my view of the book, though it was kind of like saying The Hobbit was about hobbits. That is, it was obvious.

The problem here, regarding the academic criticism, was it read like a metaphor stretched too thin. At a point, it was over done without adding anything to the various narrative threads. Academic writing is worthy of ridicule, but it doesn't take 700 pages. Make some choices, Mark.

HOL made me realize, in its shortcomings, how brilliant The Testament of Gideon Mack truly is. That is a well-structured novel: multi-layered, well-written, unpretentious, engaging. HOL is only a few of these, only some of the time.

I liked certain aspects of the book that weren't exactly "readable." The pages of nothing but citations of examples was something that made me laugh out loud, but probably only because I'm guilty of having, on occasion, gone looking for extra sources to prop up my own writing. Not my finest hour. Nicely played, Mr. Danielewski.

For sure, this is a book I'll think about for a while to come. Not necessarily in admiration, though I find myself already having asked a former student to let me know what she thinks. I did like it (three stars ain't bad), but it doesn't seem like something I'll return to, except perhaps as an example of excess.

I think, the next time someone mentions that my reviews are rambling and disorganized, I'll simply say "House of Leaves."

I can completely see how this book would inspire a cult following. It is disjointed enough, mysterious enough, to invite people to puzzle over it. I just fear that there isn't really anything there. Nothing to puzzle together so much as an attempt to make something puzzling. I stopped caring about Johnny about halfway through the novel. There was a mystery, I just didn't care if it was ever unraveled. This book very early on seems the type that young boys read and then profess to "get," and use to deride as ignorant those who "don't."

That, then, is probably my biggest complaint. Though this isn't a mystery in the traditional sense, there is enough of a conundrum that the reader is invited to sort it out. I don't think the clues are there to sort it out satisfactorily. The house itself is completely estranged from any sense of reality, which is fine, but as such can't be much more than a metaphor. Further, it has to be so because there's no other way (satisfying, in my mind at least) of connecting the two main narratives. Obsession, perhaps, but really? That's been done, and better. Mental disease? Too obvious. There was no real idea, either, to be contemplated. Danielewski obviously read Borges, but "Library of Babel" presents a legitimate conundrum, whereas this is just a poorly-lit TARDIS that's meant to be the abyss staring back? I don't know.

I feel like I'm being overly negative. Mostly, that's because beyond what I liked and didn't like, I felt like this book took too much of my time. It could have been half as long and twice as effective. The Barrett's Book of Familiar Quotations at the end seemed like another underdeveloped idea tacked on. Just too much. Eh. Maybe I'm just one of the ignorant.

I suppose I would recommend it for the experience. ( )
  allan.nail | Jul 11, 2021 |
I just couldn’t get into this one. DNF
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
I will have to think on this one for a while. It’s been on my to-read list since it came out when I was in high school. ( )
  lehrer21 | Jun 29, 2021 |
My husband has recently gotten into the music of Poe (I know, I know. He’s over ten years behind) and I was explaining to him why Haunted was so good. This, in turn, launched us into a discussion about Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves. My husband doesn’t read. It’s not fun for him. He loves stories, but prefers to listen to them rather than curl up with a book or his kindle. Honestly, I like to believe that I read enough for the both of us. Trying to explain experimental fiction to someone who doesn’t read is more difficult than you’d think, but taking him through House of Leaves reminded me of what an incredible book it was.

House of Leaves is a story within a story. The main protagonist, Johnny Truant, inherits the manuscript for a movie called The Navidson Record from Zampanó, a blind man he cared for. As Johnny begins to edit the manuscript we read it along with him, and explore the house somewhere in Virginia that grows and creates serpentine labyrinths from within. The further Johnny reads into The Navidson Record the less tenuous his hold on reality becomes, until he is noticing similar occurrences between the manuscript and his own life.

I’m a huge fan of anything that creeps me out. No, really. I don’t like gory horror, because it isn’t frightening to me. Monsters? Meh. They don’t do it for me. I’m all about the buildup, the eerie crawling feeling you get at the back of your neck. Psychological thriller? Yes, please! House of Leaves had this in spades, and it’s probably the reason that it hovers in the back of my conscious. Despite being so stunning I had to force myself to read it in tiny doses for as long as I could. It had that sinister factor I adore, and not with just one story. Oh, no. House of Leaves interweaves two narratives that would have been unnerving on their own and combines them into a result of such great unease that you can’t help but shiver. This is only heightened by the novel’s typography. The way the text warps and changes, it mimics the maze the characters find both in the house and in their own minds.

I really can’t recommend this book enough. There is something about the way it was written that appeals to me on so many different levels. If you haven’t read House of Leaves, go out and get a copy immediately. Don’t download it onto a reading device. Go find a physical copy. And, please, don’t read it in a tea/coffee house. It’s a hipster magnet, so unless you want to be caught in a discussion about the finer notes of Pabst Blue Ribbon read it at home.
  taimoirai | Jun 25, 2021 |
A idea-laden and, at times, beautiful book in the postmodern literary tradition that can't be fully captured in text, which is to imply that it would have been eminently more effective as a multimedia work.

If you're a postmodern literature enthusaist and enjoy fictionalized academic writing, then you won't be disappointed. ( )
  quantum.alex | May 31, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (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 (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Danielewski, Mark Z.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fuentecilla, EricCover designersecondary authorsome 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
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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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