Customer Reviews for

House of Leaves

Average Rating 4.5
( 243 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

House of Leaves

Though I was warned, by reading the sleeve, that this would be experimental reading, nothing could have prepared me for the trip this book took me in. By far, this is the most fun I have had reading a book, literally. And when they used the word experimental to describe...
Though I was warned, by reading the sleeve, that this would be experimental reading, nothing could have prepared me for the trip this book took me in. By far, this is the most fun I have had reading a book, literally. And when they used the word experimental to describe it, they were not using it lightly, I have read nothing like it in my life.

The story is actually a series of embedded stories, told by the person, who writes the introduction to the book, named Johnny Truant, who finds the actual book, written by Zampano, which is the body of the work. So essentially, you are reading a story about a man reading a story and following the two in tandem. But its a bit more complicated than that, because the story Johnny has found which is written by Zampano, is actually an over the top, study of a film which does not exist, which in `Blair Witch-esqe¿ fashion, tells the story of a family that moves into a house, only to find out that the house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Much bigger.

The complexity of the stories is further multiplied by the fact that half of it is the work you are reading, and the other half told through foot notes, which in turn have their own foot notes, apendixes, drawings and exhibits which they reference. In a most unusual way, through poetry and prose, you are taken in a bizarre ride through the most unusual house you ever heard of. The study providing so much detail about this movie that you essentially feel like you have watched the movie yourself¿oh, and I should probably mention, Zampano is blind. It begs the question, how did he see the movie to begin with? Or was it even a movie?

Prepare yourself to tear this book apart and truly interact with this book. This book reads in pages, columns, spirals, upside down, single words, geometrical and asymmetrical arrangements, footnotes, poetry, letters, sideways, on diagonals¿upside down on diagonals and hanging. You will find yourself going from page seven to page four hundred and back only to be forced to go back to the end before you can continue with the beginning. It is a book that covers so many writing styles and approaches it actually may test some people¿s patience, but it pays off in the richness of its characters and the thrill the actual story provides, at some points forcing you to do your own detective work and not leave a single foot note unscratched regardless of how unimportant it may seem.

If you are tired of reading books from cover to cover, if you ever really wanted to engross yourself in a book, this is the book for you.

posted by FocoProject on October 27, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

...and you call yourself my friend??

A friend gave me this book raving about how strange, unique, and frightening it was. About 70 pages in I realized that I'd rather experience a brain aneurysm than finish this book and, indeed, felt like this book was well on the way to inducing one in me. A good story...
A friend gave me this book raving about how strange, unique, and frightening it was. About 70 pages in I realized that I'd rather experience a brain aneurysm than finish this book and, indeed, felt like this book was well on the way to inducing one in me. A good story does not have to try this hard to be unique and original. But that's just my opinion. The bad news is that this is one of three books in the many I've read that I was not able to finish because I thought it was that bad. The good news is that I forgave my friend for subjecting me to it and we ARE still friends.

posted by TWTaz on July 27, 2009

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Confusing

    This book began in a very interesting way & slowly morphed into a mass of confusion. It seems that this should be TWO separate books. Also, at times, one gets the idea that the writer was on some sort of drug! ( As in acid trip! Seriously, the book had to be turned upside down to read some of the pages & some of the writting was done in spirals for no apparent reason)
    I have yet to finish the book- only read about half of it before putting it down in frustration. Too much "extras"! While the story of the expanding house was fascinating, the writting style was just too odd for my taste. I will most likely go back & finish it eventually, just to see how the family ends up. However, I would have enjoyed this so much more had it been written in a normal way!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great story if....

    This book is very original, in it's writing style and storyline. It is a great read if you can get past the incessant footnotes that veer off onto a whole other story and leave you trying to remember the details of the plot. I enjoyed the idea put forth in the book and actually enjoyed both of the stories entailed, but it was difficult to get back into the first story once I got into the second one. If you have a great deal of concentration and time to put into this book, I recommend it.

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  • Posted October 10, 2008

    Parts are good, parts are pointless

    There are two central stories. The main story is about a strange and frightening house and the people who stumble upon it. The second story (no pun intended) is told by editor, a fictional character, of the book, who interjects events of his own life. In addition, a large part of it details often detract from the main story. The main story about a house that defies physics and grows extra rooms on the inside without changing shape on the outside is very interesting, but unfortunately it's rather short. The editor's story has some interesting moments. All the rest seems like filler done as an exercise in print layout. The book has footnotes that provide often pointless and seemingly endless details about some topic slightly relevant to the main story. Often these footnotes have footnotes of their own with still more irreverent information. These details unfortunately comprise an overwhelming portion of the pages. I found myself skipping past entire swaths to get back to the main story. The text winds around the corners of pages, changes fonts, changes language, is blacked out, endnoted, footnoted, reversed, and employs just about any treatment the author could think of.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2001

    Not Great, Not entirely disappointing

    The book is good. The book is suspenseful. The book is large. Does it change the way I look at anything? No. Is it original? In some minor ways, but mostly Danielewski pays homage to other writers, influences: Borges, Wallace, Joyce, Perec, Gass, Eco & maybe some horror writers (I don't delve into the genre much). This book is interesting & I like the great effort of research that Danielewski put into this monster. He is talented & this is a good first novel. I was more scared reading the reviews than reading the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2001

    so far, I'm interested, but frusterated!

    I'm an avid reader, and I love the horror, and suspense genre. I find the storyline to be compelling, but hollow so far.I can't get attached to the characters at all, with the exception of Johhny Truant. The Navidsons seem to be written in simply to have people to refer to.I like the idea of the freaky way it's written, with the passages you need a mirror for. I'm intrigued to know I'll need a tape measure. I'm 1/4 into the book now, which is why I sought out reviews by people who've read it through. I feel that it strays to far from the storyline. Is it really necessary to go on for a page and a half about echos? And to include a mathmatic formula? Come on! Let me know what happens to these people. Don't keep me busy trying to figure out what is, and is not, important to the plot. The editor should be fired! I will, I suppose, keep reading till the end. I just hope that my time, and my money aren't being wasted.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2000

    Good, but derivative...

    I liked the way this book experimented with the form of the traditional novel. So much of what I read today is predictable and this book played against my standard assumptions the way other novelists like James Joyce and Mark Amerika use subversive structures and language tricks to tell a different kind of story. My only problem is that much of what is happening in this book has already been done a thousandfold by older postmodern writers -- the unique typography, the intrusion of various outsider narrative voices, the excessive overkill of meta-irony -- this is not new! But I liked it anyway.

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