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House of Leaves

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  145,366 ratings  ·  12,103 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, programmers, ...more
Paperback, 710 pages
Published March 7th 2000 by Random House
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Juli Kinrich With the lights on. While your partner is at home, not gone on a business trip. With your teddy bear on one side of you and your big, loyal, scary-loo…moreWith the lights on. While your partner is at home, not gone on a business trip. With your teddy bear on one side of you and your big, loyal, scary-looking dog on the other. And the blankets drawn up to your chin.(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)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  145,366 ratings  ·  12,103 reviews

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Jake Thomas
Jun 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: post modern horror fans
Shelves: novels
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
Nov 27, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hey, is it just me, or is "American Horror Story Roanoke" episodes 1-5 a mega rip off of this? Only those brave to have read House of Leaves can possibly know...

As 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 more... (!!)

You open the book and a dissection, an exploration is made. You are the surgeon & all this takes is y
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Caz (littlebookowl)
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
4.5/5 stars!
I plan to do a video review of this soon, so look forward to that :)
Stephen M
I think this just about sums it up:
Vit Babenco
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I imagined a labyrinth of labyrinths, a maze of mazes, a twisting, turning, ever-widening labyrinth that contained both past and future and somehow implied the stars.” Jorge Luis Borges The Garden of Forking Paths
House of Leaves is a postmodernistic satire on the subject of epistemology.
The novel tells about strenuous efforts to explore and comprehend the enigmatic phenomenon of the mysterious house…
Again that faint growl returns, rolling through the darkness like thunder.
Navidson quickly
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i spent some time the other day reorganising my bookshelves and came across this tucked away in a back nook. just cracking open the front cover gave me immediate and intense flashbacks of the utter chaos of this book. 7 years later and im still just as confused and amazed by this, so i guess a reread isnt necessary. lol.



im so confused?? but in a good way?? and also kind of scared. but mainly really excited that i made it through
Dan Porter
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Kevin Kelsey
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Posted at Heradas

“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.”

If you’ve ever wanted to read a novel about a group of editors who have re-compiled a second edition of a book, that was originally found (and edited) by a slowly mentally unraveling tattoo artist apprentice junkie, and was origina
Oct 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Henry Avila
If I may borrow ( steal from Dickens), it was the hardest book I've ever read, it was the easiest, it was the most enlightening, it was the most obscure, it brought daylight to the world, it brought in the darkness of the night.. Reading the upside- down words, trying to decipher the silly footnotes, and the crossed- out comments, making sense of the narrative, both of them on the same page, well you get my drift, some will be frustrated, the rest amused; good luck...All the above is true...Hous ...more
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
House of Leaves is an experience.

I've decided not to go into the plot, because it, (they?) really can't be fully explained in such a limited venue as a book review. Depending on how you look at it, there could actually be 5 different plots going on, perhaps more, and again: limited venue.

After mulling it over for a few days, I find that I'm comfortable saying the following:

1. The portions of the story dealing with the house itself were my favorites. I think these sections were truly scary-amo
Oct 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: worst-books-ever
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
...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
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 l
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Science May Be Hazardous to Your Health

House of Leaves is certainly sarcastic. It uses a Borges-like found-manuscript containing numerous pseudo-factual references to ‘document’ the creation of a video production of questionable authenticity. The question is whether the book is frivolous or serious sarcasm. Frivolity would place it in a class with pieces like The Blair Witch Project which simply and openly waste readers’ time with pointless and unrewarded anticipation. Although that may be where
mark monday
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to mark by: [Name Redacted]
1 part fascinating, 9 parts unbearable.

I may come back to this one day, if only to reread the parts that specifically describe the bizarre occurrences in this house/labyrinth/abyss. I think those parts were pretty good? Maybe? Happy to skip revisiting the gimmicky (and often laughably written) footnotes/digressions/analyses, and especially to skip the trash story of maudlin Johnny Truant - the latter of which, sadly, is both the heart and much of the body of the novel. I guess I'm more into its
Dan Schwent
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
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
Sep 13, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
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 pre
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooky, favo-u-rites, 1001
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
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
An Academic Analysis of "House of Leaves" by Mark Danielewski

This book, written in 2000, makes it onto many notable 'must read horror' lists [1 - Publisher’s Weekly Reading Scared, 2010, List of Scariest Novels 2015, Guardian’s Holy Shit, did I just read that? 2006) and has been on my TBR for many moons, and what better time to read said genre but October?

There are those who tout the brilliant ambitions of this 700-something page tome [2 - Wil Wheaton, Goodreads review 2012, "Hipsters
Timothy Urges
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little solace comes
to those who grieve
when thoughts keep drifting
as walls keep shifting
and this great blue world of ours
seems a house of leaves

moments before the wind.

Experimental meta-horror best entered with a blank slate.

An experience that absorbed me like the house.
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
A Long, Strange Trip

Table Showing Reward/Effort Ratio for Some “Difficult” and Long Novels (Some, not all, Postmodern)

Weird Book

“House of Leaves” is one weird book. And I’ve read many a strange book, but this one is up there with some of the strangest.

It’s technically a novel, but cross bred with a lot of other genres.

I'm also at a disadvantage because I'm reviewing the book nearly two weeks after I've read it (I don't like to do this, because my memory of details is usually best right after r
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Literally Dead Bo...: mid-point check-in 22 445 Apr 18, 2021 07:50PM  
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Mark Z. Danielewski is an American author best known for his books House of Leaves, Only Revolutions, The Fifty Year Sword, The Little Blue Kite, and The Familiar series.

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, preoccupied mostly w

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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.” 1313 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.” 1165 likes
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