House of Leaves

710 pages

English language

Published April 10, 2000

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4 stars (10 reviews)

House of Leaves is the debut novel by American author Mark Z. Danielewski, published in March 2000 by Pantheon Books. A bestseller, it has been translated into a number of languages, and is followed by a companion piece, The Whalestoe Letters. The plot is centered on a (possibly fictional) documentary about a family whose house is impossibly larger on the inside than the outside. The format and structure of House of Leaves is unconventional, with unusual page layout and style, making it a prime example of ergodic literature. It contains copious footnotes, many of which contain footnotes themselves, including references to fictional books, films or articles. In contrast, some pages contain only a few words or lines of text, arranged in strange ways to mirror the events in the story, often creating both an agoraphobic and a claustrophobic effect. At points, the book must be rotated to be read. The …

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Review of 'House of Leaves' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This is amazing. There are two narratives here, the book itself and another, squeezed haphazardly in the footnotes. I felt torn between the two narratives the whole way, impatient with the one as I was waiting to get back to the other.

The first one is by a man known as Zampanò, whose prose is exquisitely Lovecraftian. Speaking as someone who's actually reading Lovecraft at the same time, I'll say that this echoes those of his works which are most disturbing. And I mean that in the best way possible.

In between and among Zampanò's book is the other narrator, Johhnny Truant (the one who ostensibly "found" Zampanò's work), whose words are just... beautiful. Well, I say "beautiful." Mostly I mean the language is fascinating, even if what the words mean is anything but beautiful. It is a masterpiece of... not quite stream of consciousness, but nearly. Wandering, barely-connecting thoughts, …

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