House of Leaves

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House of Leaves is the debut novel by the American author Mark Z. Danielewski, published by Pantheon Books. The novel quickly became a bestseller following its March 7, 2000 release, having already developed a cult following through gradual release over the Internet. It was followed by a companion piece, The Whalestoe Letters. House of Leaves has since been translated into a number of foreign languages, including Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Serbian, Leet, Esperanto, and Lower Slobovian. The format and structure of the novel is unconventional,

Black
help me,im stuck in closet. help me. .
Black
minotaurminotaurminotaur minotaurminotaurminotaur.

with unusual page layout and style, making it ergodic[1] literature. It contains copious footnotes, many of which contain footnotes themselves[2], and some of which reference[3] books that do not exist. Some pages contain only a few words or lines of text,i don't know what i'm doing here. i've been stuck here for the last two weeks, lost and trapped in these dark corridors. is someone there? arranged in strange ways to mirror the events in the story, often creating both an agoraphobic and a claustrophobic effect.[4] The novel is also distinctive for its multiple narrators, who interact with each other throughout the story in

disorienting

and

elaborate

ways.

edit Plot summary

House of Leaves begins with a first-person narrative by Johnny Truant, a Los Angeles tattoo parlor employee. Truant is searching for a new apartment when his friend Lude tells him about the apartment of the recently-deceased Zampanò, a blind, elderly man[5] who had lived in Lude's house for a short period of time during the Reagan Administration.

In Zampanò's house,

Truant discovers a manuscript written

by Zampanò that turns out to be an academic study

of a documentary film[6] called The Navidson Record. The rest of the

novel alternates between Zampanò's report on the nonexistent film,[7] Johnny's autobiographical interjections, a small transcript of part of the film from Navidson's brother, Tom, a small transcript of interviews to many people regarding The Navidson Record by Navidson's partner, Karen, and occasional brief notes by unidentified editors and used-furniture salesmen, all woven together by a mass of footnotes.[8][9] There is also another narrator, Johnny's mother, whose voice is presented through a self-contained set of letters entitled The Whalestoe Letters. Each narrator's text is printed in a distinct font, making it easier for the reader to follow the occasionally challenging format of the novel.[10]

edit Reception

The reaction to House of Leaves consisted primarily of confusion. Danielewski expanded on this point in an interview: “I had one woman come up to me in a bookstore and say, ‘You know, everyone told me it was a horror book, but when I finished it, I realized that it was a love story.’ And I told her, ‘Are you retarded or something?’”2

House of Leaves has been described as a "satire of academic criticism."[11] It has also been described as an "academy of satirical criticism,"[12] a "criticism of academic satire,"[13] and a "book."[14]


  1. One such footnote references Not True, Man: Mi Ata Beni? by Eta Ruccalla.[1] Another references "All Accurate" by Nam Eurtton.[2] Note that "Eta Ruccalla" is "All Accurate" backwards, and "Nam Eurtton" is "Not True, Man" backwards. For 90 more examples of fictional books referenced in House of Leaves, see list of fictional books.
  2. Ranka, Mohit. "- Don't Be House - Don't Be Evil."1 17 May 2007.
  3. Blackness and its Side Effects. Penguin Press, 2004.
  4. Nobody cares really.
  5. A blind, elderly man who always makes sure that the word "house" is blue.
  6. Great Photographers of Houses in American Suburbia. Tiny Press, 2005
  7. dont look over your shoulder. its waiting there for you. you can feel it when you dont look, it creeps in the shadows. it waits for you there, waiting to come out and attack you. i ran into thumper the other week. she was looking quite excellent. i could stand being next to her, she was looking so good and i felt abso... did you see that? you probably didn't. i'm going crazy down here i swear. i've got these cuts on my hand and i don't even know where they came from. hello?
  8. Gibson, Owen; Wray, Richard. "[Architecture of the late neo-classic period.]" The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 August 2005.
  9. Ranka, Mohit. "Google - Don't Be Evil."OSNews. 17 May 2007
  10. Where the Wild things Roam, ibid.
  11. Rivlin, Gary, "... --- ..." New York Times, 24 August 2005
  12. Doncaster, William H., "... --- ..." New Paltz Gazette, 1 January 2006
  13. Randy Bandy Sandy-Pandy, "... --- ..." Oskaloosa Advertiser, 18 March 2005
  14. Source unknown

1. Ranka's tendency to add unnecessary additional information in the form of footnotes to various footnotes in his books was well-known, and has been the subject of many additional footnotes.2
2. One example of these additional footnotes is this one, i.e., this note you're reading right now. However, this example should not be considered canonical.
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