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House Of Leaves
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The cult classic.

About the Author

Mark Z. Danielewski, son of a film director who co-founded the Sundance Film Festival, grew up in Utah, is in his mid-thirties and was educated at Harvard, where he was taught by Harold Bloom. He attended the most prestigious film school in America at the University of Southern California and has written a number of screenplays. His sister, Poe, is a cult rock star in the States.

Reviews

When Johnny Truant attempts to organize the many fragments of a strange manuscript by a dead blind man, it gains possession of his very soul. The manuscript is a complex commentary on a documentary film (The Navidson Record) about a house that defies all the laws of physics. Navidson's exploration of a seemingly endless, totally dark, and constantly changing labyrinth in the house becomes an examination of truth, perception, and darkness itself. The book interweaves the manuscript with over 400 footnotes to works real and imagined, thus illuminating both the text and Truant's mental disintegration. First novelist Danielewski employs avant-garde page layouts that are occasionally a bit too clever but are generally highly effective. Although it may be consigned to the "horror" genre, this novel is also a psychological thriller, a quest, a literary hoax, a dark comedy, and a work of cultural criticism. It is simultaneously a highly literary work and an absolute hoot. This powerful and extremely original novel is strongly recommended for all public and academic libraries.--Jim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Danielewski's eccentric and sometimes brilliant debut novel is really two novels, hooked together by the Nabokovian trick of running one narrative in footnotes to the other. One-the horror story-is a tour-de-force. Zampano, a blind Angelino recluse, dies, leaving behind the notes to a manuscript that's an account of a film called The Navidson Report. In the Report, Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer Will Navidson and his girlfriend move with their two children to a house in an unnamed Virginia town in an attempt to save their relationship. One day, Will discovers that the interior of the house measures more than its exterior. More ominously, a closet appears, then a hallway. Out of this intellectual paradox, Danielewski constructs a viscerally frightening experience. Will contacts a number of people, including explorer Holloway Roberts, who mounts an expedition with his two-man crew. They discover a vast stairway and countless halls. The whole structure occasionally groans, and the space reconfigures, driving Holloway into a murderous frenzy. The story of the house is stitched together from disparate accounts, until the experience becomes somewhat like stumbling into Borges's Library of Babel. This potentially cumbersome device actually enhances the horror of the tale, rather than distracting from it. Less successful, however, is the second story unfolding in footnotes, that of the manuscript's editor, (and the novel's narrator), Johnny Truant. Johnny, who discovered Zampano's body and took his papers, works in a tattoo parlor. He tracks down and beds most of the women who assisted Zampano in preparing his manuscript. But soon Johnny is crippled by panic attacks, bringing him close to psychosis. In the Truant sections, Danielewski attempts an Infinite Jest-like feat of ventriloquism, but where Wallace is a master of voices, Danielewski is not. His strength is parodying a certain academic tone and harnessing that to pop culture tropes. Nevertheless, the novel is a surreal palimpsest of terror and erudition, surely destined for cult status. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Over the last 20 years, House of Leaves has continued to reward readers prepared to navigate its labyrinth, with a community of fans ready to support them if they every get lost in the dark * Guardian *
A great novel. A phenomenal debut. Thrillingly alive, sublimely creepy, distresingly scary, breathtakingly intelligent - it renders most other fiction meaningless. One can imagine Pynchon and Ballard and Stephen King and David Foster Wallace bowing at Mark's feet, choking with astonishment, surprise, laughter and awe. I feel privileged to be among its first readers. Will I ever recover? -- Bret Easton Ellis
Genre-defying . . . a novel in which something is always lurking just out of sight . . . at once a genuinely scary chiller, a satire on the business of criticism and a meditation on the way we read. * Observer *
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 *
Superbly inventive . . . a rare debut: genuinely exciting. * Guardian *
There is a core of dark power in House of Leaves and a sense of return to the great dark matter of American literature: the haunted houses of Hawthorne, Poe and Lovecraft . . . one of the few fictions genuinely to approach the nightmarish. * Independent *
Remarkable . . . genuinely clever and learned, often funny, brilliantly constructed and surprisingly touching . . . a debut of scintillating intelligence and scope. * Mail on Sunday *

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