HOUSE OF LEAVES 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.

Copied directly from the author’s website:

I started to read this book a couple of years ago, and I gave it up because I couldn’t concentrate on the story.

I started again a couple of weeks ago and through the whole story, I had ups and downs. The story completely absorbed me and out of the blue, I was thinking about something entirely different.

There are two distinct stories. The first One, Davidson, his family, and a film. The second one Johnny, his story and his obsession with Zampano papers. Both stories are related, but the protagonists never meet each other. Johnny is following the story of the first one, through Zampano’s papers.

Both stories are entirely clear if read separately, and without all the science and pseudo-science that the writer interweaves after each event for lots and lots of pages. He uses a great quantity of data to explain different events that happen in the story, and all these data are responsible for my lack of concentration.

The information that I thought was important at the beginning becomes completely useless at the end, and some other, that seem less important finished giving me the clue to understanding the rest of the story.

It is not an easy book, but it is the perfect book for a Book Club. Evidently not reading the whole book, and afterwards having the meeting, but reading some pages and discussing impressions, ideas of the Why? What? And, What will happen? Later continuing to read the next pages.

This book was published as horror but for me it was more kind of a psychological story even when some of the events are supposed to be terrifying. Maybe I am already cured of awe.

The psychology of the characters, however, is the most interesting thing in the book, and the author takes pleasure in dissecting all their behaviours and make us understand the reason for everything.

Despite my comments and some doubts, I highly recommend reading it.

Mark Z. Danielewski was born in New Yorkdownload City and lives in Los Angeles. He is the author of the award-winning and bestselling novel House of Leaves, National Book Award finalist Only Revolutions, and the novella The Fifty Year Sword, which was performed on Halloween three years in a row at REDCAT. His books have been translated into multiple languages.

In May 2015, Pantheon released The Familiar (Volume 1): One Rainy Day in May, the first installment of his 27-volume novel about a young girl who finds a kitten. In their review of TFv1, the New York Times declared Danielewski “America’s foremost literary Magus . . . He transmutes the pages of base books into rare new forms and formats.”The Familiar (Volume 2): Into the Forest will be released October 27, 2015.


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