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House of Leaves (1 Viewer)

JL Hartfield

Senior Member
I don't know if any of you have read "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski, but it's a must read for anyone who's tired of the same old suspense novels. You'll find yourself sitting down to read it, and then looking up at the clock and five hours have passed. The layout of the book is what makes this book different from most others you'll read. The language is artful, the story is compelling... it's amazing. A friend told me about it a while ago. When I went to my local B&N, they didn't stock it, so they had to order it for me. If you decide to get it, also purchase the Whalestoe Letters to read afterwards. The books themselves are difficult to describe, but it's worth every penny to go out and purchase.

Most Sincerely,
JL Hartfield
 

Dephere

Senior Member
I have read that book and have to say it was one of the best books I have read. Awesome, in my opinion.

The layout, paired with the eccentric story, takes you in and won't let you out. I read the book in a day because I liked it so much.

It gives you a feeling that you don't like, but crave at the same time. Definately a title to read!

You have good taste JL.
 

Stewart

Senior Member
I thought it got bogged down in its own cleverness and, as a result, wasn't as good as people say it is. The first layer, that of The Navidson Record, is an excellent bit of storytelling because of the way it is treated i.e. Zampano's descriptions (despite his blindness) of video footage which may or may not exist showing the Navidson family moving into their new house and discovering it may just be a quarter of an inch bigger on the inside than the exterior. The next layer, that of Johnny Truant, was up its own arse and all the stuff about strippers and drugs could have been done without so as to keep the focus on the Navidson House. The other layer, that of the editors, was a nice touch but didn't really add much.

The concept was nice but the story developed too many threads, some of which were unnecessary, to help the reader maintain focus. I agree that the novel's layout is interesting - I believe Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close tries something similar to represent seizures - and certainly serves to increase the pace and the shape of the prose helps to illustrate events.

If you liked House of Leaves, and haven't done so already, then I would recommend the short stories of Jorges Luis Borges upon whom Zampano is based. Indeed, with labyrinths playing a big part on the story, Borges' themes play a huge part in the background of Danielweski's novel.
 

Dephere

Senior Member
Nice touch with the coloring Connor, lol.

See I liked the multiple story threads, to me it added depth, a depth that only made the story better.
 

Tyson

Senior Member
I read some of it, to be honest I didn't like it very much so I didn't finish. Definately an interesting concept though, I generally like books like that but I guess I just didn't like it enough. I do like your color scheme though Connor :).
Tyson
 

gohn67

Senior Member
I'm going to be reading that book for my experiemental narratives class. It looks awesome, but I haven't had a chance to really read or even look at it much. When I get done with it, I'll give some of my impressions, even though I'm not too good at expressing my thoughts about books and stuff.
 

Gracie

Senior Member
This book confused me!

Maybe I don't have enough imagination to comprehend an ever expanding house that is a quarter of an inch taller on the inside than it is on the outside! And that Navidson's wife allowed him to have the whole house wired up with cameras (or did I misinterpret this bit?). Definately an original and inventive layout though!

Grace :)
 

Stiltspear

Senior Member
I love House of Leaves – not only for its fantastic multi-tiered intellectual horror story, (and its fantastic characters; I really ended up liking Johnny Truant) but also because of the use of typography to lend more power and emotion to certain sequences, as well as forcing the reader to totally interact with the book.
To read it you’re often forced to turn the book upside down or sideways, and if I recall rightly, even to hold it up to a mirror. You are made to become a participant, to skip from page to page hunting footnotes - to conduct your own research, and more interestingly to experience physically the confusion and unsettling nature of its subject.
The words themselves mimic the movement of Navidson’s camera in many places, and often only a single word will appear in the center of a page, which adds so much more impact to it; forces us to really focus on it, to consider all its implications.
House of Leaves showed me that we become so fixated on our idea of what a book is like that we often restrict ourselves. We forget that it doesn’t just have to be about what we write, but also how we write it.
The words are at our command… :)
 

ghostcoda

Member
Finally finished this mixed up book. I really enjoyed the layout and thought it had an atmosphere. Also the interactive nature of finding codes within it and deciphering symbols was great, still trying to put it all together.

Anyway, if you haven't read it do a google or amazon search and check it out. You may just fall into it as I have.

And to anyone who has read it, do you know of any other books that uses a strange style like this. I'm looking for my next reading and really enjoyed this craziness.

Thanks
 

Rayner

Senior Member
I read that book last year...it's still a real mindbender. I could only figure out a little of it(what was with ftairs? What on earth does that mean!!!) but it did have a good amount of creepy parts (I still expect to wake up one day and find a new closet in my house...).
If you want to read another book by Mark Z. Danielewski, he has another book called "The Whalestoe Letters", I admit I have not read it (or actually find it in a bookstore...), but it is bassically like Appendix E, the letters from Johnny Truant's mother to him. Apparently her decline to maddness was a bit rockier then revealed in Appendix E. Hope this helped.
 

J. Bryan Shoup

Senior Member
I definitely enjoyed House of Leaves, though it didn't live up to some of the reviews (which said it would basically make Thomas Pynchon and Stephen King obsolete).

It was genuinely a frightening book, though the ending certainly shocked me - not the note on which I thought it was going to end.

To be honest, the sex scenes became tiresome. I'm no prude, but some of it felt needless and over-the-top.

The segments where real life personalities were supposedly interviewed by Navidson was fantastic, such as Hunter S. Thompson trying to invite himself over to Navidson's wife's room.
 

gohn67

Senior Member
I didn't like the book much. I couldn't get into any of the characters at all because it kept switching between the Navidson Record and Jonny's story, so it couldn't build any momenteum. And I felt the pages with circular text and stuff was too gimmicky. Wow, circular text. I'm amazed.

I will admit that the book is really complex in how it was put together and must have been quite a challenge to create, but that doesn't necessarily make it an enjoyable read.
 

Stewart

Senior Member
I got a chance to browse through Mark Z. Danielewski's latest typographical nightmare in Waterstone's. It's called Only Revolutions and the letter 'o' is highlighted throughout in much the way that House was always in blue in House of Leaves.

The story is told both ways - so from page one you can read Hailey's story, and, turning the book 180 degrees, you can read Sam's story. Both characters' stories work back to the first page of the other. Then, down the side of each page there's all these half quote things - no idea! - and then some more upside down stuff at the base of the pages.

The actual narrative part, when I read it, didn't seem to make much sense at all. So I didn't read it much further.

The sleeve comes with a reading recommendation from the publisher. They suggest you read eight pages of one character's story, turn the book round, read the next eight pages of the other character's, turn the book around, read the next pages of the first character's storry, turn the book around, read...
 

Logos

Member
I've ordered Only Revolutions, it sounds cool albiet gimmicky. But I would buy a copy of House of Leaves for everyone I know if I could. My paperback edition's cover is 1/4 shorter than the rest of the book, making the book bigger on the inside than on the outside.

I'm still standing in choked awe of how resonant everything is. The book makes millions of allusions to things, and those things enrich and become enriched by the book. Which is a house... which is god...which is...
 

Craigy

Senior Member
Wow. Sounds really interesting. I'll add that to my 'to-read' list for sure. Will be sure to review it on my website as well.
 

Stewart

Senior Member
Craigy said:
Wow. Sounds really interesting. I'll add that to my 'to-read' list for sure. Will be sure to review it on my website as well.
If you do, it might be an idea to read Jorge Luis Borges first. His fingerprints are throughout the thing.
 
Currently reading it right now. What a mind-blowing book. While the spiraling sentences, mirror paragraphs, and literary tricks are a bit gimmicky, I give the author props for coming up with some an original idea. I'd rather see an author strive for the unusual than master the ordinary.

Going to be tackling this during winter break.

PS - One of you mentioned reading the entire book IN ONE DAY?!?!

It's 650+ pages long!

Impressive!
 
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