Page Updated: 19/07/00
Mark.Z. Danielewski
House Of LeavesHouse Of Leaves Newpbk 13 Jul 00
About the Author

New British Pbk Original - Anchor (2000)
House Of Leaves
I still get nightmares. In fact I get them so often I should be used to them by now. I’m not. No one ever really gets used to nightmares.
Johnny Truant, wild and troubled sometime employee in an L.A. tattoo parlour, finds a notebook kept by Zampanò, a reclusive old man found dead in a cluttered apartment. Herein is the heavily annotated story of the Navidson Record.
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. Zampanò, 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. Impossible to forget. House of Leaves is thrilling, terrifying and unlike anything you have ever read before.
‘The pages in the labyrinth chapter, which has text printed upside down, backwards and in boxes that jut into each other, are designed to slow you down, give you the sense of being in a labyrinth,’ Danielewski explains. ‘Even if you skip parts of the text, you’re aware that it’s there, you get a sense of the size.’ The chapter is so complex that it took the author nine months to ‘story board’ it. When the editor suggested changing the order of a couple of paragraphs, Mr Danielewski figured that the revision would require 200 to 300 other changes. They decided to leave it.’

'...A great novel. A phenomenal début. Thrillingly alive, sublimely creepy, distressingly 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 Danielewski'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
‘Although it may be consigned to the horror genre, this novel is also a psychological thriller, a quest, a literary hoax, a dark comedy, and a work of cultural criticism. It is simultaneously a highly literary work and an absolute hoot’ Library Journal
‘a surreal palimpsest of terror and erudition, surely destined for cult status.‘ Publishers Weekly
‘erudite and deeply frightening’ Wall St. Journal
‘House of Leaves will most likely either madden or electrify you... But there is no denying it is a work of (dare we say staggering?) genius’ Time Out, New York
‘Mark Z. Danielewski’s wonderful first novel is... funny, moving, sexy, beautifully told, an elaborate engagement with the shape and meaning of narrative. For all its modernist manoeuvres, postmodernist airs and post-post-modernist critical parodies, House of Leaves is, when you get down to it, an adventure story’ New York Times Rook Review
'Reports of the death of the book have been greatly exaggerated. Indeed, publication of Mark Z. Danielewski's stunning, mind-and-genre expanding novel, House of Leaves - the most impressive literary debut I've come across since Thomas Pynchon's V. nearly 40 years ago - renders any such commentary about the irrelevance and obsolescence of the novel irrelevant and obsolete. Like Melville's Moby Dick, Joyce's Ulysses and Nabokov's Pale Fire (to cite only the most obvious comparisons), Danielewski's House of Leaves is a grandly ambitious multi-layered work that simply knocks your socks off with its vast scope, erudition, formal inventiveness and sheer storytelling skills, while also opening up whole new areas for the novel as an art form... read it to see where the novel is heading, read it to scare yourself silly. But read it' San Diego Union Tribune
'one of the most ambitious, complicated and eagerly awaited literary debuts of the year... like no other novel you've read... Both daunting and brilliant, the novel is surprisingly fun to read, a sort of postmodern fun house where the reader becomes the author's partner in putting the story together... It is also flat-out terrifying’ Newsweek
'in a barreling, terrifying, staccato narrative that weaves in and out of at least two considerable subplots, House of Leaves takes the reader into the pitch-black no man's land of true fear’ Word Magazine
'The most ambitious and original first novel I’ve read since Pynchon’s V. ...Melville for mass, Poe for excitement... Danielewski’s design is ingenious, his mind rigorous and his purpose admirable. The novel itself is the monster, an intentional monstrosity wilfully hypertrophied and energetically deformed to make you feel ‘not at home’ in your homes, in your minds, and in the films you see and the books you read. The uncanny, not comfort, is great art's ambition. Some few novels we do not judge. They judge us and the courage of our consciousness. As the man-monster Caliban says in The Tempest, “Be not afraid”'Books
'Stunning... what could have been a perfectly entertaining bit of literary horror is instead an assault on the nature of story’ Exposure
'Intricate, erudite and deeply frightening' Wall Street Journal
'An amazingly intricate and ambitious first novel - ten years in the making - that puts an engrossing new spin on the traditional haunted house tale... The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's master of postmodernist and cinema-derived rhetoric up the ante continuously, and stunningly. One of the most impressive excursions into the supernatural in many a year’ Kirkus (starred review)

About The Author
Mark Z. Danielewski is 33 and lives in Hollywood. It has taken him ten years to write House Of Leaves, his debut novel. The following is an extract from an interview in Publishers Weekly.
Mark Danielewski can't pinpoint the exact origins of his novel, an intricate, experimental horror story about a house that is larger on the inside than on the outside, but he says that its structure - a Nabokovian mix of narrated story, found manuscript and footnotes - somehow allowed him to incorporate years' worth of earlier writing into one complex, intertwining, terrifying stew: ‘it war able to hold not just various story lines but also thoughts of mortality, ruminations on the chasm between youth and old age, riffs on the past, present and future.’ ….. Danielewski got his first taste of fiction writing at 1O. ‘I wrote a book about a New York kid who becomes a cocaine addict, beats up a cop and goes to prison,’ he says. ‘My parents were shocked. My father thought it was immoral. And a teacher of mine in Utah called it a dirty book - it had the word ‘fuck’ in it. After that, it took me a long while before I would show my work around.’ ….. At Yale, he studied English Literature and got rejected from every writing seminar he applied for. He went on to UC Berkeley, where he did an intensive Latin programme…… Shortly afterwards, Danielewski headed off to Paris for a year, living on almost no money and writing constantly. Film school in LA followed. Then his father, an experimental filmmaker who had led the family to exotic locates around the globe, died. ‘That shook the foundations of a lot of things, ‘ he says. ‘I worked at a restaurant, tutoring kids, as a plumber - all the while writing. That's always been my source.’……
Once the book was finished, he quickly found a publisher in the States, Pantheon and was published in March 2000. It is attracting stunning reviews.


N.B. dates and publishers in dark red indicate British First Editions. Dates and publishers in black indicate recent reprints.

  • House Of Leaves (Anchor Pbk, 2000) New Pbk Jul 00

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