Years Ago, When House Of Leaves Was First Being Passed Around, It Was Nothing 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 ChildrenNow, 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 AppendicesThe 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 OutsideOf 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

10 thoughts on “House of Leaves

  1. says:

    UPDATE, September 2017 It s been nearly ten years since I wrote this review and I continue to be amazed by the response to it I m totally blown away by all the chords I ve struck and nerves I ve hit with this dumb thing over the years I m frankly a little embarrassed by it and I ve toyed with the idea of just taking it down all together, but I think I ll leave it up because it seems to spark conversation I would just like to reiterate that it s been ten years since I wrote this and I don t know that it actually reflects the way I would feel about the book if I read it now, so please don t yell at me about it I don t even know how I could possibly respond I can t remember the book all that well and I double can t remember why I felt the way I did about it I think there s actually a pretty good chance that I might like this if I were to read it again I m sorry younger me was a little brash I m also sorry for calling out Radiohead the way I did I still don t care about them, but I also don t care if you do I wish there were someway that a sigh could count as a book review.House of Leaves is a really, really damn good story It s about a guy named Johnny Truant who finds a manuscript in a dead man s apartment Said manuscript is entitled the Navidson Record It s essentially a dissertation on a documentary of the same name, by and about a man named Will Navidson and his family Navidson lives in a house that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside, sometimes only a small fraction of an inch larger, sometimes miles After a quick bit of research Johnny figures out that the Navidson Record, and pretty much everything related to it, does not exist Johnny becomes obsessed with the whole thing and it drives him crazy.I think it s a really great story However, House of Leaves is the perfect definition of bullshit.You see, it s got an experimental narrative People will tell you that it s hard to follow, but those are probably the same people who told you that the Matrix required multiple viewings to understand The book is written by a fictional character named Zampano, he is the dead man I mentioned above in my synopsis of the story Johnny Truant, who is or less the books protagonist, chimes in via an introduction and constant foot notations that he s added to Zampano s work Most of his foot notes however meander off into him rambling about things that have happened to him in his day to day life mostly fucking a million super hot babes It should also be noted that the Zampano character has made a retarded amount of foot notes See, not that complicated.What really got my goat here is all the goddamn, cutesy little look how clever I am I I m a major in art and a minor in lit bullshit It starts off simple enough with that kind of stuff Every time the word house comes up the text is blue, no matter what language and there are several , no matter what That s a kind of cool little thing, I m ok with that, but then Danielewski decides that he s going to masturbate from page 119 to page 709 There are annoying text blocking boxes in the middle of about thirty pages that contain text in them that is so clipped and cut off that you can t read it You have to turn the page sideways and upside down continuously for hundred page stretches at a time, and these pages tend to have a small paragraph at the very best often times only one or two words , making you flip through the pages very fast There are footnotes all over the fucking pages making it a big pain in the ass to know what you are supposed to be reading and in what order Then at the end he has the fucking gall to imply that there are hidden messages encoded throughout the book and you should go back and find them It is a seriously frustrating book to read.There is no doubt that House of Leaves is extremely clever, and it s undoubtedly the most exhaustive work of fiction I have ever read The foot notes alone, which I gather are 98% referencing material that does not really exist, are impressive Danielewski really worked his ass off on this and it shows I respect House of Leaves, I cannot stress how much I loved the story, but I pretty much hate the book.This book looks at you with this smug fucking smile on it s face, daring you to say that you don t like it, knowing that masses of people are going to go along with it because they don t want to look stupid That s what this is It s the fucking Radiohead of books Well, House of Leaves, I am not stupid and I m calling your bullshit Fuck you.

  2. says:

    So there s a definite cult around this book, and I am one of the many who drank the Kool Aide and never looked back Here s a little anecdote that speaks to the possibilities of this book I was an RA my junior and senior years of college One year I had a good friend of mine living in my building, and upon one of her visits to my room I put The House of Leaves in her hand, telling her that she should read it A couple of days later I was in my room, awake at some unholy hour due to my vampiric sleep schedule, and there s a knock at my door As an RA this is a rather unsettling experience On the other side of that door could be a drug overdose, suicide attempt, food poisoning or any other host of problems we re warned about as RAs So tentatively I open the door and am relieved to find that it is not some horrific medical emergency, but simply my friend Except my friend looks haggard Her hair is unkempt, there are bags under her eyes and she is slouched forward, breaking her usually quite nice posture In her hand is The House of Leaves We stand there, silently measuring each other up, and then my friend rears back and throws the book at me, then walks away Such behavior is not terribly unusual for this friend of mine, so I make a note to ask about this later and then go back to bed.The next day I call up my friend and ask her what exactly was the deal I hadn t slept in two days, she said That damn book kept me awake I couldn t finish it, I couldn t sleep with it in the room, I had to get rid of it That book fucked me up To this day she still can t bring herself to finish reading the book And so.The book has an amazing way of crawling beneath your skin and taking root When I read it my sleep schedule, already astoundingly bad, became even irregular and bizarro I started looking at things differently The world changed Not in any big way, but there was a definite shift, and that s the way this book works It comes at you sideways People who just see it as a gimmick, in my opinion, are trying to hit the book straight on when you just have to give into it It s like music, which isn t surprising seeing as how Mark Z Danielewski s sister is the recording artist Poe, who came up with her album Haunted in tandem with Danielewski s writing of House of Leaves There are sections of this book I found so surprising and affecting that I had to put it down and give myself a minute to take in what I d read and go over it in my mind Every person I ve ever met who has read this book has had something to say about it, something personal than just Oh yeah, I liked that, or It s overhyped There s a visceral reaction this book can elicit, and I find that fascinating.I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and she mentioned something David Mamet said once, something along the lines of When you leave the theater wanting to discuss the play, that s a good play When you leave the theater wanting to discuss your life and the world, that s art I like that definition, and I think it applies to House of Leaves Conversations about this book never stay on the book, they branch out into other areas and interests, they can t help but grow longer and deeper, not entirely unlike a five minute hallway.

  3. says:

    If you want a really good, insightful review of House of Leaves that I didn t write , go read this one from Aerin.If you want to read mine, here you go House of Leaves isn t one of those tidy little things that holds your hand and wipes your bottom and tells you that you re special It makes you work, and what you get out of it depends largely on how much work you re willing to do House of Leaves is difficult at times, incredibly complex, occasionally pretentious, and view spoiler it doesn t neatly wrap up some of the biggest questions it raises hide spoiler

  4. says:

    It s like one of those very psychedelic albums from the late sixties, where they do all those funny stereo effects, and all that phasing or whatever it was called all great fun but you still had to have good songs It s about the story of the book about a film about a house, but let s not overcomplicate things The film at the centre of it all is called The Navidson Record , and so is the book about it And so is the book about the book about the film STOP doing that Hmmm well, the house story is pretty good yes, stolen from numerous genre horror books and movies, likeNo, not that one This one but it s not bad, sufficiently interesting, even a little bit creepy But come on, by no means edge of seat keeps you up all night,Come on, dear, get a grip actually I didn t know there was a remastered full color edition, what the hell is that so I have to wonder about the encomium from Brett Easton Ellis he should get out He should meet feminists with a full Black Decker power tool kit Now the story of the house is wreathed with hundreds of footnotes even the footnotes have footnotes, we are in David Foster Wallace country, textually speaking and I really liked them They re a kind of deadly straight faced parody of various kinds of commentators, some scholarly, some not Very funny stuff, in a solemn, unsmiling way Many intellectual jokes Not much knockabout But so far so good However, and here s the downside, the footnotes are themselves encrusted with the random autobiographical jottings of the guy who supposedly discovered the bookaboutthefilmaboutthehouse His writings comprise story number two, the tale of Johnny Truant And it s dire It s cringemaking It s lame It s stupid I found the events of the spooky house believable than I did the ludicrous cavortings of Johnny Truant gratuitous sex, drugs, tattoo parlours, and existential angst by the bucketful Channelling all the badboys he can think of, Bukowski, and that other fellow whose name I can t think of, and the other one, you know who I mean, yeah, him, Johnny Truant is inclined to spout off into pages of incomprehensible rantings at the drop of a tab, and it s just as interesting as someone describing their most brilliant acid trip, which is to say, it s really unbelievably tiresome Eventually I gotta say that JT and his pal Lude and his sexual fixations and his loony mother and his fights and his whole depressed, defeated and miserable schtick just serve to capsize what was otherwise an interesting and almost bold satire Final note like the movie 2001 which in the last part goes JUST CRAZZZEEEE so this novel when you get to the heart of the spooky ookums house horror goes CRAAZZEEEE with all this super lunatic typography like the pages containing just one sentence or three words written back to front, or pages withone sentence going up at a slant describing our hero surmounting an incline and I always enjoy this stuff, Alasdair Gray does it in Lanark and Janine 1983 and way back in the 50s Alfred Bester did it in his great sf novel Tiger Tiger and then there s the photos and poems in foreign languages et etc so anyway, given all of THAT, this is a 400 page book posing as a 700 page book Still big, but not as big as you think Which may just be a neat REVERSE metaphor for the house in House of Leaves itself Damn

  5. says:

    Totally infuriating It made me feel dumb, bored, and annoyed all at once If I want that, I ll date my first boyfriend again.

  6. says:

    This is not for you Or maybe it is House of Leaves is not an easy book to read It will not only challenge your ability to hold a weighty tome at numerous different angles for prolonged periods of time as you endeavour to read text which is upside down, back to front and shoots vertically or diagonally up and down the page, but it will challenge your idea of what a novel is and how a novel should be presented Normally I like to try and keep my reviews short None of you this is an assumption, but a fair one I think want to endure an Nth to the power of monologue about a book Generally requirements from a book review are fairly short is the book good, bad or ugly Does it contain anything that might engage you or enhance your appreciation or understanding of the spinning ball of rock to which you are currently standing upon lying clinging to Is the person writing capable of injecting a heroin shot of humour into the sinewy arm of the review in order to elicit a subdued snort of mirth This is my criteria anyway Each to their own I ll begin by summarising the story This is not for you either This is for me, for my own sanity and clarity of thought which has been somewhat muddied in the reading process And by muddied I mean dirtied and sluggish with the consistency of a KFC Krushem TM House of Leaves is a book about a house The house has unexpected spatial characteristics it is larger on the inside than it is on the outside The spatial characteristics are discovered and investigated by the owners of the house and their friends They film these investigations These investigations are then compiled into a series of short films called The Navidson Record The Navidson Record becomes cult viewing and copies of ever decreasing quality circulate amongst academics, the media and stoned students A blind man named Zampano attempts to assess the quality and verity of The Navidson Record including the films and the vast body of white and grey literature generated by academics in order to clarify once and for all if the film was the real deal or one of the most elaborate hoaxes of the 20th century Zampano dies before completing his magnum opus and the disordered, arbitrary scattered notes and fragments of his work are discovered by his next door neighbour, a drug hoover named Lude Lude calls in his friend Johnny Truant JT JT develops a fixation with the Navidson Record and attempts to complete and order Zampano s life work in order to draw his own conclusions about what actually happened in the house on Ash Tree Lane Truant himself who may or may not be the final architect of the work which forms the core of the published version of House of Leaves begins to suffer a mental breakdown JT s story runs concurrently with the Navidson Record but is only ever presented as a series of footnotes The result of this is unclear but one way or another, at the hands of a series of anonymous editors Ed the book makes its way into circulation Is this still for you Maybe The problem interpret the use of the word problem here as being either good or bad depending on your own perspective with House of Leaves is that while the words printed inside the pages leaves are telling you one thing and sending your thoughts in one direction, the actual layout, font, size and colour of the text are sending out a whole other set of messages Which ones do you listen to I think you re supposed to pay attention to both but this may cause your cerebral cortex to cleave in two so this is a choice that you make early on, and at your own risk As a work in its own right, and not just as a story or series of conjoined narratives, House of Leaves will probably mean different things to different people I was very interested in the Navidson Record and the presentation of a multi dimensional qualitative space You might be interested in exactly which screws are coming loose in JT s brain or what motivated Zampano in the first place Much like the choices faced by the people exploring the inner corridors of the house, you will be forced to pick your own path through the book and once you have done that there is no turning back or you will have to start from scratch Is this the end of the review Yes I cannot break this down further in constructive sentences and the brain dribble is now getting into the cracks between the keyboard I can however, much like Zampano and his snippets, notes and scribbles, provide a non linear collection of random thoughts and observations which might act like the mythical skein to help you weave your own way through this labyrinthine text what you do when you reach the Minotaur at the centre is entirely up to you 1 Symbols and code Allegedly there are a lot of hidden codes within this book These might be numerological, symbolic, visual or in any other semantic form you can think of The internet is awash with web pages and forums dedicated to HoL and the discussion of coded meanings Seek them if you will, but don t expect them to actually clarify anything One code I did pick up on was the use of random symbols, frequently those used in ground to air visual communication these were used instead of a numeric reference system for the footnotes Did they have any direct bearing on the text Dunno The one that really did baffle me was the insouciant and sneaky symbol which appeared for no fathomable reason at the bottom right hand of page 97 2 Capitalisation Adjectives with capital letters where no capital letters are required by the dictates of English Grammar Similarly deliberate mis spellings Go figure 3 Inversion Inverting of main text and footnotes so that the main text becomes a foot note and vice versa Is this symbolic of the main text becoming a sub text for something greater 4 Colour The significance of the word house highlighted in blue wherever it is mentioned This remains true for the cover, footnotes, end notes, index, appendices and publication information Blue can confer the idea of calmness, a natural environment or stability It can also confer the notion of authority and power It is a primary colour and therefore is at the root of many other colours and could be interpreted as a starting point It can represent sky and water, two elements which are necessary to human survival But blue can also mean depression and coldness So what does it mean in the context of House of Leaves Everything, nothing, something I can offer no conclusions here and it is never explained 5 Displacement of objects At one point Karen Navidson s children tell her that all of her Feng Shui artefacts have vanished from the house I m not a believer in Feng Shui but I also believe that anyone who believes that a crystal bullfrog or a well placed water spout can cancel out the possible malevolent evil of a room with dimensions than a 3D hologram is possibly a little crackers anyway Note, if you will that the exact list of missing objects in the exact same order is recited in the interview with Hunter S Thompson on p363 He used them as missiles rather than sticking to their traditional Feng Shui purpose What does this all mean No idea Objects are disappearing through the house and moving into different spaces within the book Go figure I could go on And I will probably than you would like , but for now this will have to suffice as I need to pop out and get some crazy glue with which to stick my cloven grey matter back together.

  7. says:

    Looking for a spooky book to read around Halloween I was recommended this book by several others on a message board I frequent Quite a few people mentioned its brilliance and the fear it put in them.After reading it I could not disagree The story is this a family moves into a home and begins noticing physical features of their house changing They begin to investigate, which leads to a new doorway and hall appearing where there was not one The husband, being a world class explorer and filmographer decides to document the new house and in doing so creates a documentary, ala The Blair Witch Project But the book has a couple stories within the story It is written from the point of view of some young slacker who breaks into this dead old man s house and takes the notes for a book the old dude is writing The book and all of these notes are his reactions to watching the documentary film.The old man s ramblings reads like a textbook, replete with tons of footnotes, fake references, poems, rantings But we don t get to just read his reaction, or simply walk through the documentary, we have to suffer through the slacker s constant juvenile side stories and craziness.The premise is brilliant, and flipping through the book the first time, I was pumped at the prospect of the book The effort Daniel put into this book is exhausting to say the least This had to have taken countless hours for the detail to all of the fake references, quotes, drawings, and footnotes, but sadly at the center is a stupid story that goes no where I was never scared, but rather annoyed NOTHING seems to happen And as soon as the story begins to move, we get a long winded worthless conversation from our main character Nothing is ever explained, nor finalized This is seriously one of the most boring, meandering, monotonous books I have read.While reading the book I found a message board dedicated to the book and its absolute greatness It took all I had not to log in and question the taste and objectivity of these people, but if they like it, who am I to pee on them.I do not recommend this book, but if you do read it and turn out to enjoy it, please enlighten me as to what I missed as I fought falling asleep reading these boring passages.

  8. says:

    Hey, is it just me, or is American Horror Story Roanoke episodes 1 5 a mega rip off of this Only those that have read House of Leaves can possibly knowAs avant garde as any novel s got the right to be It is all about condensing and expanding the parameters of the novel, heck, of the tangible object It makes a case of molding the form like clay doh a book is stationary no You open the book and a dissection, an exploration is made You are the surgeon all this takes is your time, your attention, your very personhood Can you imagine what Borges would have made of this House of Leaves A damn necessary read This will change your life in a compelling, unexpected way Trust.

  9. says:

    4.5 5 stars I plan to do a video review of this soon, so look forward to that