House of Leaves, a novel by Mark Z. Danielewski
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.
Now that we've reached the post-postmodern era, presumably there's nobody left who needs liberating from the strictures of conventional fiction. So apart from its narrative high jinks, what does House of Leaves have to offer? According to Johnny Truant, the tattoo-shop apprentice who discovers Zampanò's work, once you read The Navidson Record,
For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You'll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you'll realize it's always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won't understand why or how.We'll have to take his word for it, however. As it's presented here, the description of the spooky film isn't continuous enough to have much scare power. Instead, we're pulled back into Johnny Truant's world through his footnotes, which he uses to discharge everything in his head, including the discovery of the manuscript, his encounters with people who knew Zampanò, and his own battles with drugs, sex, ennui, and a vague evil force. If The Navidson Record is a mad professor lecturing on the supernatural with rational-seeming conviction, Truant's footnotes are the manic student in the back of the auditorium, wigged out and furiously scribbling whoa-dude notes about life.
Despite his flaws, Truant is an appealingly earnest amateur editor--finding translators, tracking down sources, pointing out incongruities. Danielewski takes an academic's--or ex-academic's--glee in footnotes (the similarity to David Foster Wallace is almost too obvious to mention), as well as other bogus ivory-tower trappings such as interviews with celebrity scholars like Camille Paglia and Harold Bloom. And he stuffs highbrow and pop-culture references (and parodies) into the novel with the enthusiasm of an anarchist filling a pipe bomb with bits of junk metal. House of Leaves may not be the prettiest or most coherent collection, but if you're trying to blow stuff up, who cares? --John Ponyicsanyi
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
-Jim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
—The Washington Post Book World
“An intricate, erudite, and deeply frightening book.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A great novel. A phenomenal debut. Thrillingly alive, sublimely creepy, distressingly scary, breathtakingly intelligent—it renders most other fiction meaningless. One can imagine Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, Stephen King, and David Foster Wallace bowing at Danielewski’s feet, choking with astonishment, surprise, laughter, awe.”
—Bret Easton Ellis
“[Its] chills spark vertigo, its erudition brings on dislocating giddiness . . . House of Leaves is dizzying in every respect.”
“Stunning . . . What could have been a perfectly entertaining bit of literary
horror is instead an assault on the nature of story.”
“This demonically brilliant book is impossible to ignore, put down, or persuasively conclude reading. In fact, when you purchase your copy you may reach a certain page and find me there, reduced in size like Vincent Price in The Fly, still trapped in the web of its malicious, beautiful pages.”
—Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn
“[A] tour de force first novel. [It] can keep you up at nights and make you never look at a closet in quite the same way again . . . Staggeringly good fun.”
“A novelistic mosaic that simultaneously reads like a thriller and like a strange, dreamlike excursion into the subconscious.”
—The New York Times
“If you can imagine that Peter Pan’s enemy is not Captain Hook but Neverland itself, or that the whale that swallows Jonah is Moby-Dick, you’ll begin to appreciate what this book is about. Anticipate it with dread, seize, and understand. A riveting reading experience.”
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
“Grabs hold and won’t let go . . . The reader races through the pages exactly as her mind races to find out what happens next.”
—The Village Voice
“Like Melville’s Moby-Dick, Joyce’s Ulysses, and Nabokov’s Pale Fire, Danielewski’s House of Leaves is a grandly ambitious multi-layered work that simply knocks your socks off with its vast scope, erudition, formal inventiveness, and sheer storytelling skills.” —San Diego Union-Tribune
From the Publisher
-- Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn
"An amazingly intricate and ambitious first novel -- ten years in the making -- that puts an engrossing new spin on the traditional haunted house tale...Danielewski skillfully manipulates the reader's expectations and fears, employing ingeniously skewed typography...The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of post-modernist and cinema-derived rhetoric up the ante continuously, and stunningly. One of the most impressive excursions into the supernatural in many a year."
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"The novel is a surreal palimpsest of terror and erudition, surely destined for cult status....The story of the house is stitched together from disparate accounts, until the experience becomes somewhat like stumbling into Borges's Library of Babel...The horror story -- is a tour de force."
From the Inside Flap
- Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
- Brand: Pantheon Books
- Color: Black
- Edition: 2nd
- Features: Used condition is good
- Pantheon Books
- Binding: Paperback
- Number Of Pages: 709
- Publisher: Pantheon
- Release Date: 07-03-2000
- EAN: 8601401266464
- Package Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.8 x 1.6 inches
- Languages: English