It's been years since I've read this. I'll try to give a better description of the book.
From the back cover:
Johnny Truant, wild and troubled sometime employee in an L.A. tattoo parlour, finds a notebook kept by Zampanr, 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. Zampanr, 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.
This is Mark Danielewski's take on the house that conceals strange spaces. The story behind the Navidson Record is the exploration of a strange doorway that leads into another place---a shifting space engulfed in pitch darkness. The novel preys on the fear of the unknown, of being lost in unfamiliar places, and of being stalked by some unknown creature, which may or may not be a figment of the imagination. To recreate the feeling of space and claustrophobia, Mark Danielewski uses unconventional typography to make the reader lose himself within the text just as the characters become lost in their explorations. Although he's only reading an essay on the Navidson Record and annotating the essay with his own thoughts, the terror of the house appears to invade Johnny Truant's consciousness, eventually taking over his life.
Edit: I forgot to add my own opinions of the book.
I loved this book. People may not like the style and find it annoying, but I think it's worth trying out because it's an exercise in creativity---a book that you won't see many of. There are similar (but nowhere near as sweeping) devices used in other books that I can think of where text and pages are manipulated to convey some meaning, e.g.,
1. using gradually fading text for the diary entries of an Alzheimer's Disease sufferer to parallel the memory loss;
2. a fictional book called Hole in the Middle
(or something similar) where there are many blank pages in the book.
Mark Danielewski goes much further than these examples. For a first novel, it's a bold move, and one that works...if the reader appreciates it.
I should perhaps mention how I found this book in the first place. I had been playing Silent Hill 2
, in particular the psychological horror aspect, and was interested in the concept. It seemed that House of Leaves
is a favourite book and the inspiration Team Silent, the developers of the game.
Edited by Seiichi, 08 March 2009 - 12:08 AM.
Added opinions and reason for picking up the book.