took me 6 months to finish but it was well worth it. I wished they would make a movie out of it. Its an amazing book. It changes the way you read novels, and does to closets what "psycho" did to showers. A great read. Everyone should experience House of Leaves.
A party animal, drug using, tattoo artist finds a novel written by a blind man that died. He types it up to publish and gives the blind man the credit for it. The novel is about a man whos house is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. A closet appears from nowhere and it leads into a vast void dark place that appears to be a mansion within the house. It has stairwells that groan, a spiral staircase that goes down forever, long winding hallways with hundreds of empty rooms, and its all pitch black. They make several trips in there to explore it, and get lost for days at a time.
The books jumps back and forth between the man typing the novel and the novel story itself. The man typing the novel ultimately goes insane.
There are end notes, pages printed backwards (need a mirror to read), some parts with one or two words per page, pages with print in sprial form. Even the end notes have end notes. Some end notes are 2-10 pages long, they reveal more of the story, so dont skip them! All of the words "house" are printed in blue text.
This is a truely one of a kind book! Anyone who is a fan of the song by "Poe" called "Hey Pretty" will appreciate the book especially on page 88, where the spoken words of her song are printed. MArk Danieleski is Poe's brother! The book he wrote inspired her song! ... Kyrie suggested we go for a drive in her new 2 door BMW coupe...... we slipped into her bucket seats and she took over from there....
Another neat aspect of the story, is the writers' mother, who is locked up in a looney bin. She writes him letters, which can be decoded (by you the reader) to reveal a secret message shes trying to send to him. It was truely one of the most disturbing messages Ive ever read. I wont tell you what its about, so you'll just have to see for yourself. These letters also spawned the second book by Mark Danielewski, called The Whalestoe Letters
I highly suggest this book to anyone over the age of 18. Contains adult language and a lot of adult content. But like I said, its a great book, Definitely a keeper IMO. Even though its been almost 10 years since i read this book, I will never forget it, and neither will you..........
House of Leaves is not s standard novel. Perhaps the literary equivalent to the Blair Witch Project, House of Leaves presents a story within a story, disguised as truth.
The actual text of the book reads as a manuscript, with footnotes by Johnny Truant, the guy who found the aforementioned manuscript in a dead man's apartment. The manuscript itself is about a documentary film about a house that measures larger on the inside than on the outside.
In short, it's a lot of information to process.
The brilliance is not just in the layers, but in the presentation. The actual layout of the letters on the pages play a huge part in the impact of the story on the reader.
If anything, Mark Z. Danielewski does something so utterly smart, so perfect in helping preserve the need for books, real tangible books: He's written a book that cannot be adapted to film, because it's the experience of reading that makes House of Leaves what it is.
This is a story about a strange house. This is also the story about Navidson, a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist who moves his family into the strange house. This is also the story of a documentary filmed by Navidson about his family moving into the strange house. This is also the story of House Of Leaves, a book written by an old blind man, a book about the documentary of the family that lived in the strange house. This is also the story of Johnny Truant, the person who finds and restores the book written by an old blind man about a documentary of the family that lived in the strange house, and does so at the risk of his own sanity. It is all of this, and so much more.
House Of Leaves is not a book for the passive reader. With two major plot lines running almost simultaneously throughout the book, and several more scratching the surface at various points, this is a book that demands your full attention, both while you are reading it and for weeks to come afterwards.
There isn't much that can be said about the intent or message behind House Of Leaves, for there are too many to list, and the list is constantly changing. This is a book that demands to be read twice, with the threat of a third looming in the distance, and no doubt it will read differently each time. Indeed, this is the kind of book that reads you. As multi-layered as the house on Ash Tree Lane itself, it will earn a permenant place on your bookshelf, no doubt well in reach.
What an amazing piece of work! I finished reading this last night - at least I think I am finished. I say I think I am finished because one could study this labyrinthian book for years and not be sure everything was read and comprehended correctly. A very multi-layered book with several stories woven together in bizaare fashion to form a mind-boggling journey into fear/love/mystery/insanity??? I'm still not sure what this all meant but it was quite a journey getting there. Was the "Navidson Record" an illusion of the editor, Johnny Truant (who seemed to stretch the truth here and there) or did it all come from the mind of the old man Zampano? This was sometimes like reading a textbook with all the footnotes and references (both real and unreal).
The "Navidson Record" part of the book was really quite bizarre and reminded me somewhat of the movie "The Blair Witch Project" with the amateur photography, etc. It went from strange to very strange with some humor thrown in -- I especially enjoyed the jokes related by Tom (Navidson's brother)when he was waiting at the top of the endless spiral staircase. Then there were all the details about house construction, echoes, labyrinths and the minotaur, Jamestown and the group that was lost in the winter, the Pulitzer-prize winning photo of Delial and the vulture taken by Navidson which was based on Kevin Carter's real Pulitzer-prize winning photo, and on and on.
Johnny Truant's story was also very interesting along with the story of his mother in the mental institution (has anyone decoded the letter on page 620?). Like I said, I think I could try to study this book for months, look up more of the footnotes, etc., but I do have other books to read.
I read the whole thing, cover-to-cover, and was only really enthralled with one of the handful of storylines the author is juggling in this book (the navidson house). I really wish the author spent more time developing more interesting storylines (or expanding on the one interesting one) and less time on making the book nauseatingly pretentious.