House of Leaves

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House of Leaves is a 2000 novel by author Mark Z. Danielewski. It is his debut novel and commonly posted in creepy book threads.

Contents

Plot

House of Leaves deals with the plight of a young man named Johnny Truant and his editing of a film analysis by a blind, elderly man named Zampanò. The film, The Navidson Record, is the supposed documentary of the exploration of the house of a man named Will Navidson, and it also includes many insights into Navidson's family life and history. Johnny Truant's story is a frame for Zampanò's story, which is in turn a frame for Navidson's story, giving the narrative itself a Russian Doll or, as some describe it, house-like effect. Johnny Truant is an unreliable narrator, confessing to changing parts of the analysis and his own story to better suit his own taste.


The Navidson Record

The Navidson Record itself is a series of tapes describing the exploration of filmmaker Will Navidson's house. Navidson's house seems to shape and change itself at random, forming doors and hallways which lead on, seemingly endlessly. Most of the film is the exploration of a particularly large section of the house that forms in the living room. This hallway and its many rooms defy Euclidean geometry, being far longer than the outside dimensions of the house. Navidson calls friends, family, and professionals to document their trek into the aberrant part of the house. At the end of the novel, Truant confesses that he can find no record of the film actually existing, nor a Will Navidson or his family.

Typography

House of Leaves' most popular attribute is its odd formatting and typography. Depending on the reader's edition, the word house is always found printed in a blue text, the word minotaur is printed in red, a line in chapter 21 is printed in purple, or some combination of all three. Many passages in the book are also offset into squares, printed upside down or sideways, include footnotes or footnotes of footnotes, citations for works that don't exist, and other textual oddities not often found in contemporary fiction.

Trivia

  • Mark Danielewski is the brother of the 90s musician Poe. Her song "Angry Johnny" is an homage to Johnny Truant and several songs off her second album, Haunted, are direct references to House of Leaves.
  • A short section of the novel is frequently posted as creepypasta, with Navidson's nickname, "Navy", being changed to "Davy", presumably by someone unfamiliar with the novel.

Creepypasta

A degenerated VHS dub was discovered in the University Library containing five minutes of inexplicable amateur footage. In one continuous shot, the camera momentarily focuses on a doorway on the north wall of a living room before the operator climbs outside of the house through a window to show the exterior white clapboard. The camera then moves inside the house through a second window completely circling the doorway and so proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that insulation or siding is the only possible thing this doorway could lead to. A hand appears in the frame and pulls open the door, revealing a narrow black hallway at least ten feet long. The camera begins to move closer, threatening to actually enter it. A voice can be heard, "Don't you dare go in there again, Davy," to which another voice adds, "Yeah, not such a hot idea."

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