House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski


I guarantee you something – you will have never read another book like this.

House of Leaves is Mark Z. Danielewski’s first (and best) novel. Tattoo artist Johnny Truant lives in a building with a blind old man called Zampano. When Zampano dies, he finds an extensively detailed book by famous photographer, Will Navidson, called The Navidson Record which details the supernatural goings on in the Navidson’s new house.

Only Truant can’t find any record of this film or Will Navidson. And the book seems, which is footnoted by Zampano, and Truant as he reads it, seems to be having a strange effect on Truant’s mental state.

This book is a typographical masterpiece. It is laid out like no book you’ve ever read before. As mentioned earlier, each narrator has his own footnotes (and typeface) and the further one gets into the book, the more the layout reflects the goings on. When Danielewski’s publisher sent it to the layout people, reportedly, those due to work on it were so flummoxed that Danielewski himself laid out and typeset the entire book.

A ghost story. A love story. A mystery. A story of family ties, of hallways that shouldn’t be there, of caverns, of marriage. Read it.

And so you know what you’re getting into: here’s a few choice screenshots of the book (but despite this, it’s not art for art’s sake, the layouts really serve the book and have a purpose, although you might, like I did, get some strange looks reading it in front of others when you’ve to do things like tilt the book to read it correctly):


A final note – this only exists as a print book, due to its typographical complexity, but interestingly you can get a regular black and white or a full colour edition (which affects not only the images within, but some of the words in the text!).

You can reserve a copy on South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

3 thoughts on “House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

  1. It needs a brave publisher to take a chance with something like that. I imagine all sorts of weird stares from fellow passengers if you tried to read on a crowded train.:-)

    Liked by 1 person

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