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House Of Leaves Paperback – 6 Jul 2000
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"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)
Johnny Truant, a wild and troubled sometime employee in a LA tattoo parlour, finds a notebook kept by Zampano, a reclusive old man found dead in a cluttered apartment. Herein is the heavily annotated story of the Navidson Report. Will Navidson, a photojournalist, and his family move into a new house. What happens next is recorded on videotapes and in interviews. Now the Navidsons are household names. Zampano, writing on loose sheets, stained napkins, crammed notebooks, has compiled what must be the definitive work on the events on Ash Tree Lane. But Johnny Truant has never heard of the Navidson Record. Nor has anyone else he knows. And the more he reads about Will Navidson's house, the more frightened he becomes. Paranoia besets him. The worst part is that he can't just dismiss the notebook as the ramblings of a crazy old man. He's starting to notice things changing around him...Immensely imaginative, impossible to put down and impossible to forget, "House of Leaves" is thrilling, terrifying and unlike anything you have ever read before.See all Product description
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Without spoiling anything I can say I've never read anything like it. It's hard to tell where the narration ends and the story begins.
A word of warning though - it is a very dark book. I would not reccomend this to anyone feeling low as it I personally found it quite depressing.
Actually I felt that this worked, but I also found this was quite a hard work book to read and much thicker than expected – for some reason I thought it would be a slim volume. That’s not a bad thing, just worth noting you probably have to be in the mood to read this not if you are looking for a light read.
Part academic paper, part horror story, multilayered description of escalating madness. Lots of footnotes! House of leaves is strange, highly addictive and slowly creepy. This is a book that sticks with you and I’m glad I read it.
My recommendation Read it. You might hate it or not get it. But it’s worth the risk.
I had 2 questions while reading it, and the 2nd still remains. I'd be most grateful if some reader answers it the way they understood the story:
Was Zampano born blind and made it all up for the sheer hell of it? (after all, Johnny found that neither Navidson records nor any academic work mentioned actually exist) If Zampano wasn't blind from birth, and actually saw the film, did no reader think it's odd that the book doesn't mention how he lost his eyesight?
Have I missed anything? I read it last summer and might not remember it that well.
There are moments of such creepy unease which lift it to another level.
The book doesn't hold your hand, it leaves you to wander the vast open spaces, descend the spiral staircase and the Great-Hall alone. You decide where Truant, Zampano and the Navidsons reside and then the darkness shifts again.
It's a staggering concept but I'm not sure I can give it the full 5 stars because there were segments I skipped.
For me the academic rationale was too wordy and detracted from the story. The footnotes were okay but again, for me, a little overdone.
All the same - Bravo!
I would recommend always checking to see that the title includes 'full colour edition' to avoid disappointment. If you're not fussed about the detail, then this is a perfectly fine version to get if the others run out of stock; but ideally, search for the full colour, or 2-colour versions online for the full experience.