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House of Leaves

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  63,094 ratings  ·  5,972 reviews
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, programme ...more
Hardcover, 736 pages
Published March 7th 2000 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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robert all the way to the end. the story INCLUDES the appendices, and it is likely that you will not crack the code unless you read them. what you think the…moreall the way to the end. the story INCLUDES the appendices, and it is likely that you will not crack the code unless you read them. what you think the book is about may change radically depending on whether you keep going all the way to the end. (less)
Melanti Sorry, you need a paper copy.

There's a LOT of really odd formatting and the book really can't even be released in mass market (small sized) paperback…more
Sorry, you need a paper copy.

There's a LOT of really odd formatting and the book really can't even be released in mass market (small sized) paperback - let alone e-book.

There's sideways writing, upside down writing, diagonal pages, writing right over the top of other writing, etc.

In fact, scroll down through this review and you'll see photos of some of the pages:

I guess it's possible that they might sell a PDF version some day but I think you'd still be better off with having it in paper. (And this is coming from someone who LOVES ebooks!)(less)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna ClarkeHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiGood Omens by Terry PratchettInfinite Jest by David Foster WallaceLost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
67th out of 76 books — 50 voters
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiS. by J.J. AbramsNight Film by Marisha PesslAbraham Lincoln by Seth Grahame-Smith
Books With Visual Aids
2nd out of 13 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jake Thomas
Jun 23, 2007 Jake Thomas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ambitious enjoyment-seekers
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 s
Wil Wheaton
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)
Oct 19, 2009 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the sick and twisted and loving it...
Recommended to Kim by: Michelle, tadpole, Gary
Mar 02, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to find their literary Everest
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and an alleged cult following
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 assumpt
Nov 27, 2007 Cloudhidden rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
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 more.

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 f
Paul Bryant
Feb 18, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: post modern horror fans
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. As you'll know by now, "House of Leaves" has more tricks up its sleeve than you can shake Jacques Derrida at, but not enough tunes. There are two stories. One's about this, you know, uh, what can I say - house. Okay, all right, it's about the story of the book about the film about t ...more
...Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you'll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you ever lived by. You'll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all of your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And then for better or worse you'll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you've got not to face the
Oct 19, 2008 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of metafiction, "house as a character" folks, weirdos
“Thus despite rational objections, technology’s failure is overrun by the onslaught of myth.” – pg. 335

This quote that I have taken completely out of context is probably the best one sentence summary of this book that is possible within the fractured confines of human communication, thus I will resort to the grocery list format.

‘House of Leaves’ is a masterpiece of metafiction, told in “documentary” style. I will attempt to unravel the layers of storytelling here, there are very possibly even mo
Dan Porter
I finished House of Leaves. A synopsis of the book - if such a thing were actually possible - might go something like this: This is the story of the assembly by one man, of the notes of another man, written on random bits of paper into a review of a movie - actually a documentary film - and the scholarly research spawned by the film. The film is about a house owned by the photojournalist who created the documentary. Or is it the house that owns him...and his family? Writing a review of this book ...more
MJ Nicholls
Everyone’s favourite stovepipe-hatted feline-loving formal innovator arrived in 2000AD with this quiet little novella starring Stretchy Font Man, Captain Kerning and Bendy Page Gurl. Since then he has published a version of Finnegans Wake you have to “drive” and a book of blank space. I read the whole thing minus the last 30pp or so of the ‘Whalestoe Letters’—a tedious ripoffering from ‘Diary of a Madman’ with the typography Gogol would have used had he been granted access to Doubleday’s photoco ...more
Jun 18, 2009 Michelle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Footnote lovers, Non-linear style lovers, Blair Witch Project lovers
Recommended to Michelle by: Tadpole
Shelves: novels
I’m sitting here trying to review this book, and I’m coming up with nothing. I’ve been thinking about it off and on all day.

At this point I’m tempted to just link to Tadpole’s excellent review and call it a day, but I really feel as though I should say something. After all, I loved this book, and I’ve never read anything like it. It’s a heavily annotated version of a heavily annotated version of a “factual” record about a family who moves into a house in Virginia where something isn’t quite rig
Stephen M
I think this just about sums it up:
Sep 20, 2007 Nathan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People I hate.
One of the reviews I read of this book compared it positively (bewilderingly) to The Blair Witch Project. I agree, only I thought The Blair Witch project was primarily a ninety-minute gimmick, and not particularly engaging, at that. I should probably admit that I only made it 3/4ths of the way through House of Leaves before realizing that my skull appears larger from the inside than it does from outside. Every person I know who has a brain currently, previously, or aspires to one day have a brai ...more
"This is not for you."

*this will not follow the kind of reviews I usually do, so be prepared for a conglomerate of quotes, self-taken photos and annoying html text. Also this is quite long.

All right so not only was I completely mind-blown by this book, I was also overjoyed with the fact that I actually had an excuse to use my page markers! (I had orange for quotes, pink for ideas/concepts/points in story, green for layout/codes and yellow for footnotes and references as I'm sure you all wanted t
Everything has been said but not everyone has said it yet.

- Rep. Morris Udall at the 1988 Democratic convention

I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality.

- James Joyce in a reply reply for a request for a plan of Ulysses

The thoroughly well-informed man--that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

Are you looking for a book with a plotline a little something like this????

Commercial Photography

If so, House of Leaves might be right up your alley.

The simple synopsis (and the only one you're going to get from me) is this is the story of Will, Karen, and their dream home, told through various narrators.

I read House of Leaves before I started "writing" (a/k/a imaging) reviews. I don't make a habit of going back and posting something for a previo
I finished this last night. At about 1:30 in the morning. Honestly, I have no idea how to even begin a review for this book. I kind of have the same panicky feeling I had when people would see me reading and ask what this book was about. I started blurting out incomplete sentences and even stammering all the while. I knew there was no way I could convey the brilliance of this book in just a couple light-conversational sentences. I think that might be the same case here, so my apologies in advanc ...more
I understand the entire conceit of mocking the turgid, pretentious, and absurdly obfuscating styling of postmodern academia, replete with footnotes sufficient to populate a Mongol horde; I appreciate the creativity towards, and playing around with, aspects of typography and color and kerning and textual direction; I can fathom the juxtaposition of the intricate and necessary edificial entries of the Navidson exploration with the jejune, supernumerary mouthwash rinse of a boastful free rider; and ...more
More than anything, House of Leaves is pretentious. It does things against the grain just because they haven't been done before, not because they're necessarily good ideas. The book seems to take pride in trying its damnedest to give you a headache, and then expects you to like it (unless Danielewski is a sociopath, and wants people to suffer while reading this, in which case I've misinterpreted).

House of Leaves gives off the impression of a modern art experiment, daring you to say it's pointles
Mar 07, 2008 Mungo rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: meh... nobody really... although it was suggested to me by just about everybody.
Contrived and full of gimmicks. A cut and paste job using ideas from Stephen King, Bret Easton Ellis and Thomas Pynchon with a few original ideas scattered amongst the stolen property. Sure, it's pretty and an interesting mix between storytelling and graphic arts, but pretty shapes and colors can't possibly hide a weak sentence:

"As I strain now to see past The Navidson Record , beyond this strange filigree of imperfection, the murmur of Zampanò's thoughts, endlessly searching, reaching, but neve
Caleb J.
Holy crap, you can tell this was Danielewski's first novel. It is a fantastic experiment in meta-fiction, and I admire it for that reason, but as a narrative (or in this instance, several), it falls severely short.

The Johnny Truant arc feels like a long Palahniuk-style cliche of debauchery. It also illustrated just how arrogant and condescending Dnaielewski is as an author, because Truant frequently tells the reader how s/he should be reacting to the text as well as explaining and interpreting
Oct 24, 2007 Sarah rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: enemies
Totally infuriating. It made me feel dumb, bored, and annoyed all at once. If I want that, I'll date my first boyfriend again.
Dan 1.0
So, I liked House of Leaves but wouldn't call it great or brilliant. I liked the concept of a cache of papers found detailing a possibly ficticious film about a house with impossible dimensions and the maze of mind bogglingly large size in its closet. It was interesting but at its core it was a thin story propped up by gimmicks and pretentious nonsense. I understand that the informational footnotes were supposed to make it seem more real and the rambling narrator's footnotes were supposed to sho ...more
Aug 15, 2008 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mark danielewski
this book is bigger on the outside than it is on the inside.
too much style, too little substance. the story of the house lured me in and propelled me through to the conclusion but most of the book was filler. the excessive footnotes were distracting and annoying and added little or nothing at all to the story. as i was having to turn the book upside down and sideways and very nearly bending over backwards to read some pages, i pictured danielewski grinning with delight at the headache and neck
Wow. This book is heavy. Literally and figuratively. I doubt Mark Danielewski's sanity as much as I doubt the sanity of the people in his book.

This is not a book you can read like a conventional novel. The physical design of the book is as much a part of it as the text. Danielewski pulls out every trick, with special typesetting, empty pages, colored fonts, foreign text with and without translations, hundreds of footnotes, appendices, photographs, and other printing tricks that make this a book
It is difficult for me to coherently and succinctly express my overwhelming hatred for this book - not just dislike, but absolute, overpowering disgust - but the sheer thought that people continue to naively read this and somehow leave with the impression they had just completed a masterpiece was too haunting, too shocking for me to continue sitting passively.

To read House of Leaves is to witness a microcosm of the downfall of society: any semblance of truth and meaning is abandoned and replace
House of Leaves is really a weird book. So weird, in fact, that any discussion of it pretty much has to be dominated by its structure. Basically, there are 6 “layers” to the story, each of which the reader is directly or indirectly exposed to:

* Layer 1: Photojournalist Will Navidson and his family move into a new home. To procure content for a documentary he wants to make on the experience, Navidson sets up cameras everywhere a la some reality TV show. He soon discovers that, impossibly, the ho
Jan 16, 2008 Greg rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book fanatics
Shelves: fiction
This is without a doubt one of the most engrossing books I've ever read in my life. I'm almost embarrassed to admit the amount of notes I've scrawled in various notebooks while reading it. You can call this book a horror story, but you can also call it a love story. You might call it the reinvention of the novel, or at the very least it's a book that makes you question your ideas about what a novel could or should be. About where the line is between fact and fiction, author and creation, about i ...more
Charlie George
[Spoiler alert: you can't really spoil this story because the dominant theme here is unanswered questions, but I try to distill a number of them, so be warned.]

This book was quite an elaborate mind-fuck. The unique regression of perspectives within perspectives was fascinating, but in the end became tiresome--simultaneously the book's greatest strength and only flaw.

We all know that the written word will always be superior to any other art form because it employs the imagination to flesh out the
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Mark Z. Danielewski is an American author. He is the son of Polish avant-garde film director Tad Danielewski and the brother of singer and songwriter Annie Decatur Danielewski, a.k.a. Poe.

Danielewski studied English Literature at Yale. He then decided to move to Berkeley, California, where he took a summer program in Latin at the University of California, Berkeley. He also spent time in Paris, pre
More about Mark Z. Danielewski...
Only Revolutions The Fifty Year Sword The Whalestoe Letters The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May The Familiar, Volume 2: Into the Forest

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“Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at last it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share.” 908 likes
“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.” 769 likes
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