Part academic paper, part horror story, part too-real-to-be-comfortable description of escalating insanity, part impenetrable footnote-maze, part (multi-)layered meta-novel - and fully enigmatic and wonderful, House of Leaves is one of the strangest and most memorable books I've ever read. A mere review can't possibly do it justice; isolated and analyzed, its very different and seemingly incompatible elements seem odd, frightening, pointless, sick, funny, and anything in between. Put together, though, the whole thing develops a thoroughly weird and unique attraction. Having completed the book, I can image Mark Danielewski thrusting his fists skywards, cackling madly and roaring, Viktor Frankenstein-style: "It's alive!" It feels like something that shouldn't be alive but somehow still is. Danielewski's creation is by no means flawless, the nuts and bolts show in places - but in most cases, I have the impression that the flaws and imperfections are intended. This one is going to stick, keeping to the edges of my mind like shadows; never quite disappearing, and - when night comes - crawling out of hiding, demanding attention again.
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