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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An experimental blast
This postmodern, typographically chaotic novel is a monstrous book, both in page numbers and ambition. It is the literary equivalent of "The Ring." As we learn in the introduction, Johnny Truant, a tattoo parlor employee, has come into possession of a trunk full of bizarre scraps of paper once owned by an old blind man, Zampano, now dead. The papers comprise...
Published on May 10 2004 by Debbie Lee Wesselmann

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great.
Based on the reviews here I was expecting to be completely freaked out or amazed or even a bit scared but that didn't happen for me. Yes, I loved the premise of the book within a book (with a documentary film thrown in for good measure) and, especially at the beginning, I found the story really interesting but other than the occasional "ooh, that's cool" moment I found...
Published 21 months ago by Canadian Girl


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great., Oct. 2 2012
By 
Canadian Girl "CG" (Montreal, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
Based on the reviews here I was expecting to be completely freaked out or amazed or even a bit scared but that didn't happen for me. Yes, I loved the premise of the book within a book (with a documentary film thrown in for good measure) and, especially at the beginning, I found the story really interesting but other than the occasional "ooh, that's cool" moment I found that overall it was merely...alright.

I personally didn't mind the footnotes or the nearly blank pages or even the sideways / backwards text but I sort of hoped that it would pay off more than it did; if I'm going to put that much effort into reading a novel then I want to be blown away and House of Leaves didn't do it for me. I gave the book 3 stars because of it's originality and the basic plot but I can't in all honesty say that I truly, really enjoyed it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An experimental blast, May 10 2004
By 
Debbie Lee Wesselmann (the Lehigh Valley, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
This postmodern, typographically chaotic novel is a monstrous book, both in page numbers and ambition. It is the literary equivalent of "The Ring." As we learn in the introduction, Johnny Truant, a tattoo parlor employee, has come into possession of a trunk full of bizarre scraps of paper once owned by an old blind man, Zampano, now dead. The papers comprise an exploration of a cult film called "The Navidson Record" and its sub-films, documentaries about an ever-expanding house that's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside and which consumes the lives of anyone who enters its dark hallways or watches the tapes. Johnny becomes himself obsessed with Zampano's papers and, in turn, with the Navidson house. He is haunted by the beast he smells and the descending madness he had no inclination to stop. The book itself is the melding of Zampano's papers, Johnny's footnote digressions into his own life and its troubles, and the debate among academics as they struggle to make sense of a film that probably never existed. The result is a dark, wild, often hilarious, sometimes excruciatingly boring foray into the meaning of home, family, love, and self.
The structure of the novel is innovative, with Johnny Truant's story unfolding in footnotes and in the appendices, while Zampano describes the film and the academics bicker over its meaning in the body. The most riveting narrative thread in this novel is of Navidson's and others' descents into the smooth walled, dark cavern of the mysterious hallway. The consequences on Navidson's marriage and on those he loves are devastating, and the reader is swept into both the horror and the need for hope. Johnny's story is less compelling, especially as the house fades into the background and his story takes over. The academic over-analysis is tons of fun - as long as you have the patience to get over the dryness to find the kernel it has been working toward. For example, early in the book, Danielewski (in the writings of Zampano) provides a lengthy academic discussion of the myth of Echo and its scientific and literary significance, only to derail it with a Johnny Truant footnote telling the reader that "Frankly I'd of rec'd a quick skip past the whole echo ramble were it not for those six lines . . ."
Even more bizarre than the telling of Truant's tale in footnotes is the typographical methods used to visually evoke the house in the Navidson Record. The words become their own labyrinth, with "hallways" of text enclosed in blue boxes; they sometimes inhabit corners only, or skip up and down the pages, one or two words at a time. When the characters don't know which way is up, the reader is twisting and turning the physical book to read upside down and sideways. You have to see the book to fully appreciate the visual hijinks Danielewski uses. It can take a long time to read certain sections, only to find that you can flip through several pages with just a glance at each.
Despite the suspenseful plot, HOUSE OF LEAVES is anything but a quick read. Its satisfaction is derived more from its individual parts than as a whole since it ends, to paraphrase T. S. Eliot, not with a bang but a whimper. I recommend this for patient readers and for those who delight in experimental turns in fiction.
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2.0 out of 5 stars More Sizzle Than Steak, June 30 2014
By 
S. M. Buck (Vancouver Island, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
Judging by the number of people on the internet who list House of Leaves as one of the "scariest books I've ever read", I had high expectations for it. I'm usually not a fan of horror fiction, but people also called H.o.L. "clever" and "genius" which make me decide to give it a try.

I've just finished it today and I'm quite disappointed. Other reviewers note that the book founders in a mass of irrelevant footnotes, and they're right. I diligently read every one, giving credit to the author for forcing me down dead-end after dead-end, and appreciating the way he made my eyes physically live out events in the story. That is, I was constantly going backwards and forwards, feeling my way through meaningless miles of space. Unfortunately the story itself climaxes way too soon, and more with a whimper than a bang, and with hundreds of pages still left in your right hand. So, you keep expecting to get to the REALLY good stuff, the stuff that will "haunt your dreams" and make you "afraid of your own house". That stuff never materializes. Eventually I was simply plowing through it all, bored by the buzz of notes and the lack of dynamic plot.

One thing - I really think more people should have died. House turned out to be a weeny little soft-serve.

Anyway, there was real genius to the tension built up in the section dealing with "Exploration #4", but otherwise, meh. [tosses it into the donation bin] 138

138 See Chapter Six, footnote 82, Shan's Story as well as footnote 249. --Ed. 139
139 See Appendix H
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!!!, June 2 2014
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This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
Weird but great!!! Just don't get caught up reading the footnotes. You don't need to.
A must read just for the fact you will never read a book format like this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars best book, Jan. 15 2014
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This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
ever. I cannot recommend this enough - engaging, provocative and a genuine challenge. Do not hesitate to buy two and share with a friend - they'll love it too
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4.0 out of 5 stars METAFICTION AT ITS BEST, Dec 14 2007
By 
Benjamin Anderson (Fredericton, NB CAN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
A totally engrossing piece of meta-fiction. I loved this book, from beginning to end, though the Johnny Truant foot-notes passages were often boring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who says plot is the enemy of fiction?, March 26 2000
This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
Don't believe -- for good or ill -- the opinions in circulation that equate this book with work by Wallace or Pynchon. It is its very own self, and the bits and pieces copped from (referring to?) DFW (endless footnotes, for example) and TP (the presence of a minor voice named "Chiclitz," for example), suggest more about Danielewski's tastes and methods than they do about his aspirations and intents.
I think.
At any rate, the amazing thing about this book is that for all of its deconstructive technique and filigreed mannerisms, it manages to tell a direct story in an extremely engaging way. In other words, fear not: A fine narrative lurks in these dark pages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Good, but...", Jan. 18 2007
By 
Shawn McCarthy (Winnipeg, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
Have read through this a few times now. Walks a thin line between intellectual commentary and pretentious drek.

If you can get past the Literature-thesis-project-on-acid feel of the book, the stories do work fairly well together. Wrapping a passible suspense story inside a paranoid descent and fleshing it out with some characters who at times intimately reveal aspects of themselves, the author does manage to tell as much with the gaps and discrepancies as with the stories themselves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A challenge, July 17 2004
By 
Karen Tobin "ladyangst" (Worcester, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
This may be the most complicated book I've ever read. There are layers upon layers and you can never be sure what's real and what isn't.
I won't say it's the best book I've ever read, but it's certainly the most ambitious and creative. The way the typography was used alone is unlike anything I've ever seen. It could have been simply a gimmick, but it really reflects the story as well.
A quick hint to people who like to read while doing something else--this is NOT the book for it. I took it with me to the gym and tried to read it while riding an exercise bike. Not a pretty sight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Stuff, June 15 2004
By 
This review is from: House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition (Paperback)
I really don't feel like writing an essay like some of the reviewers have, but I would like to say that coming from the perspective of a not-so-avid reader, this book still holds up strong. It really is terrifying and thought provoking on so many different levels. I adore the 'unconventional' structure of this book, as well as all the taboo themes it deals with.
There is absolutely no end to the amount of ways there are to read this text(literally as well as figurativly). You won't be finished with it until long after you've finished reading it.
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House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition
House of Leaves: The Remastered Full-Color Edition by Mark Z. Danielewski (Paperback - March 7 2000)
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