Book Review: HOUSE OF LEAVES, by Mark Z. Danielewski

I cannot adequately summarize this book, not without 45 minutes and several diagrams. For a much more to-the-point summary, I refer you to Sean at The Underground Wall, who wrote the review that sent me out, the very next day, to buy HOUSE OF LEAVES (you'll want to read down aways before you hit the House review). He writes a mean summary and, frankly, I do not feel I can do any better--so I won't try.

What I will try, however, is to communicate how incredible this book is. When I finished HOUSE, I was hard-pressed not to turn back to page -1- and start the whole show again--which is saying something, since this novel is the size of a Biology 101 textbook.

HOUSE demands to be obsessed over. The truth in the story is tricky to separate from the fiction, but the further in I got, the less I worried about fiction/nonfiction--I was effectively sucked in. In my copy there is a magnificent quote by Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn--read that one, too, while you're at it):
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 it's malicious, beautiful pages.
I know, I know. I'm copping out and sending you off to other reviews, and quoting things off the book jacket at you--you may think I'm trying and failing to conceal my inadequacies in the face of such a book, such a challenge, but I'm not. I'm just failing, nevermind the trying.

Between Sean and Jonathan, you've just about got it. I will add this one thing: read the book. Do it. It's big, I know, but don't let that stop you. Probably you will find a wee Théa tucked away in your copy as well, because some part of my brain is certainly still computing Danielewski's fierce masterpiece. I will read it again; it's only a matter of time.


I finally get the context for Poe's album, Haunted, and I'm a better person for it. Who knew she was Danielewski's kid sister?

For an interesting interview with Danielewski, click here.


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