Reviews

House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski

xhaiiro's review against another edition

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3.0

...strange. Some really cool concepts in arrangement (cramped writing in tight spaces, small window of writing in an otherwise empty page; madness of a character reflected in the word arrangements). Honestly, just an experience. But I feel the end fell a little flat, with a lot left unanswered - probably intentionally so, but still. Just strange.

maplebar9000's review against another edition

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5.0

A romance novel for people who hate romance novels (but love slowly losing their minds).

biancax321's review

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3.0

Interesting but exhausting.

herbivore's review against another edition

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5.0

Reading the reviews, I was expecting myself to find this book either pretentious, or maddening. When I hit the bit with the excessive footnotes that carried on for 5+ pages detailing various fixtures that could be on a house, I decided it was more of a satire of academic writing, and I'm confused why others who actually read this book didn't think the same. Outside of the academic texts and excessive footnotes, there isn't much that is pretentious about the book. As for the "maddening" part, I didn't feel it at all, until I did.

I thought it was silly that people allowed a book to affect them so severely. I myself love horror, and have become pretty used to distancing myself from it. I love the feeling of being scared, so I tried to feel it when Johnny says to imagine something terrible looming just out of your line of sight, but I didn't feel it. I never felt very scared while reading the book, but the anxiety rose in my life outside of the book, while I wasn't directly reading it. House of Leaves forces you to think while consuming it, so there is no way to get around thinking about it on your freetime. Eventually, I found myself very anxious of the dark and being alone. It wasn't so much that I was scared of the things themselves, but constantly relating things in my daily life to events and people in the book is what made me uncomfortable. For some reason, I was letting the book get to me. I was seeing it everywhere, and it was very unsettling.
Even then, writing this, all I can think of is the lengthy academic passage about being unsettled. The book is written to make you feel like Johnny Truant, forcing you to try and draw meaning where it may or may not exist, and connections where there are none. It's just a coincidence, surely.

Where this book really roped me in the first time and made me feel like House of Leaves was more than a labyrinth of a book, was on page 72 where the book allows you to search the appendix and find the Whale letters. Reading the letters and cracking the code was a weird experience for me. It didn't help that Johnny's mother reminds me a lot of my own, and thus drew me further into comparing my own life to Johnny's experience.

For my future self who might re-read this and anyone who likes to listen to music while reading: the Hyper Light Drifter soundtrack is the perfect complement to this novel and really brings out the unease.

jorlynn_cosmic_cloister's review

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challenging dark mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Loveable characters? No

2.5

nomenarium's review against another edition

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5.0

This book is a unit. You have to work for the story but its worth it

spacestationtrustfund's review against another edition

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3.0

Et l'interminable couloir qu'il parcourt ne cesse de changer de dimensions.

cams's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional informative mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

This review is going all over the place, just like the book itself. Anyway.

Ever since I've heard about this book, I've wanted to read it. And I did. And I am baffled by magical and surreal this book is. The author is an utter genius who can bring the reader with him in his characters' worst phobias and psychosis and most humanly behaviour. However, I was kind of disappointed with the ending of the book itself, the ending of the Navidson Record. I was way more interested in the annexes of the book where we discover more abt what happened to the Ash tree Lane House and about Johnny, the man who re-writes the whole Navidson Record after his predecesso  died while doing it. 
We actually follow two storyline: The Navidson Record and what happens in that hellish house, how it moves, adapts to its owners' psychology, how deadly it is. 
The 2nd storyline is Johnny Errand's journey to finish what Zampanò did not : transcribing the Navidson Record files. We also follow him through his life while he slowly descends into pure and utterly madness. The latter due to him finishing writing the Navidson Record. 
Both storyline are crafted like diamonds, the reader is driven into the story and the reader doesn't even realise it until it's too late. 

The book will leave you overthinking every details of it. It will creep on you when you don't even think of it. 
This book is beautifully crafted. It is a little diamond. Truly. Most atypical read.

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dougus's review against another edition

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challenging dark mysterious reflective slow-paced

4.75

fateandkarma's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark mysterious tense slow-paced

3.75

What the hell was that??? 3.75 ⭐️ I loved how the author explored with formatting even though it was very difficult to follow. Are my walls real? Is the floor real? AM I REAL? I’ll never really know now.