am 12. Juni 2000
While an excellent book, and a truly awesome work of literature, "House of Leaves" should not be attempted by anyone who is not willing to give reading it a pretty supreme effort. However, any one who has plenty of time and determination (and imagination) will be amazed by this book.
I admitt, "House of Leaves" is trying sometimes. The footnotes everyone is complaining about are sometimes helpful, and sometimes nothing but annoying. Some people complained that the odd layout of the book is obnoxious. While indeed I was getting strange looks from my family as I turned the book over, flipped it upside-down, diagonally, and went rapidly through sections that had only one word per page, that's all part of the fun . . .
There's a lot of unneeded parts to this book, certainly, and there's no real end to the thing. All I can say is that if you have lots of time on your hands, read this book. I know it has changed the way I look at most literature. It has also changed the way I look at the absence of light, and it will be a long time before I walk down any more unknown hallways in the dark.
am 1. August 2000
... six long, scary, obsessive nights spent curled up in my hotel bed (I was out of town on business). This book... How do you explain it? Every time you think you know what it's about, another layer peels away and the big black onion you're holding begins to terrify you in totally new ways. In the long hours between midnight and morning, I found myself checking the dark corners of my hotel room just in case some small part of this story had escaped its pages and invaded my world. During each day, I could feel the book itself calling to me across the distance between my client and my hotel -- I left the book in my room so I would not be tempted to read it all day long (and probably get fired). I am not a person normally captivated by thoughts of the supernatural, but this book made me want to go out and buy a tape measure to make sure the room I was in wasn't getting larger. Read the book and you'll understand...
am 20. Juli 2000
I have read various twisted novels, but this one left me in a state of intense turmoil. Each page is filled with disturbing details and mind-blowing suspense.
After having found a monograph called The Navidson Record, a book based on a documentary that was written by a blind man named Zampano, Jonny Truant's life is not the same. And after having read House of Leaves, I, like Truant, haven't been able to forget this incredible piece of work. Luckily, I, unlike Truant, don't have nightmares because of it.
This is not a book that you can pleasantly read on the beach; it demands your undivided attention. I marvel at Mark Z. Danielewski's talent and genius. I highly recommend House of Leaves. Now run along and get it!
am 30. März 2000
Unless I missed it, nobody here has mentioned Nabokov as a precursor: "Pale Fire" is the urtext novel in which manic annotation wrestles with the work being annotated (and PF may be the only novel whose index itself is a comic masterpiece). "House of Leaves" is ambitious in different ways, but Danielewski doesn't have quite the same control over his material or his language. And he makes annoying mistakes: his calculation of how far a quarter would fall for an hour forgets to take wind resistance into account, he thinks Old English words derive from Old Norse and Gothic, he calls University of Virginia's Thornton Hall, across the street from me, "Thorton Hall"... of course the metafictional escape clause is that these are Zampono's errors, or Johnny Truant's, but that's too cheap a Get Out Of Jail Free card for my taste... Who lives by the Sterne/Joyce/Pynchon mode falls short by it too. --That said, I think the narrative of Navidson and the house itself is stunningly successful. In fact the impossible house is a lot more believable than Johnny Truant, who's sort of a Lego construction of a character. (With "Thumper" and the rest of his romantic interests basically Tinkertoys.) So while I'd certainly recommend the book to anyone who likes experimental fiction, I'm not ready to canonize it as the Great American Novel of the 21st century.
Ich hab schon viele merkwürdige Bücher gelesen, aber House of Leaves ist sicherlich das merkwprdigste.
Als ich davon hörte dachte ich nicht dass man aus der Geschichte (Das Buch ist Sekundärliteratur zu einem nicht-exisitenten Dokumentarfilm, geschrieben von einen Blinden, gefunden von einem Punk) tatsächlich eine lesbare Geschichte machen kann. Man kann! Es gibt sogar zwei Handlungsstränge: Die Dokumentation und die Geschichte des "Herausgebers", erzählt in Fußnoten.
Das Buch wird oft mit dem Film Blair Witch Projekt verglichen und das zu Recht. Weniger wegen der Handlung, sondern weil beide auf Effekte und vor allem Erklärungen verzichten, sondern eher subtil Grusel auslösen. BWP wird daher von vielen Leuten abgelehnt. Und so geht es auch House of Leaves. Man muss seine Freude daran haben, sich selbst Dinge zusammenzureimen und Theorien aufzustellen, zu interpretieren. Und ähnlich wie bei einem David-Lynch-Film bleibt man letztlich etwas im Dunkeln, welche Theorien nun tatsächlich richtig sind und wie man das alles verstehen soll. Ich kann alle Leute verstehen, die das nicht mögen - MIR gefällt das aber außerordentlich gut und HoL werde ich sicherlich in Bälde ein zweites Mal lesen!
Noch ein Wort zum Layout: Hier gilt das eben gesagte: Das Layout ist z.T. sehr ungewöhnlich. Aber auch das passt, es unterstreicht die jeweilige Geschichte. So steht im Buch das eine Szene (der Dokumentation) Frame für Frame gezeigt wurde, so wird diese auch im Buch so beschrieben - Mit einem Wort pro Seite. Das ist künstlerisch wertvoll, ich finds toll, andere findens sicherlich albern.
am 23. Februar 2016
Dieses Buch ist wahrscheinlich nicht jedermanns Sache. Es ist streckenweise fast unmöglich zu lesen (kopfüber, spiegelverkehrt, Fußnoten, die sich nicht an eine nachvollziehbare Reihenfolge halten wollen...), und auch auf den Stil muss man sich einlassen.
Teils wissenschaftliche Arbeit auf einen fiktiven Film, teils Achterbahn durch das Leben ihres Finders, hat die Geschichte es nach und nach geschafft, mich selbst an meiner Zurechnungsfähigkeit zweifeln zu lassen. Urängste werden bedient, dabei aber immer poetisch und liebevoll geschrieben - man ist am Ende fast traurig, nicht wirklich dem Wahnsinn verfallen zu sein.
Für mich definitiv ein Highlight des Jahres (und es ist erst Februar...)
am 3. Mai 2000
I was attracted to House of Leaves because of an article about it in Newsweek. That sent me to this site, where I found the critics polarized: Joe Pro loved it, Joe Shmoe hated it. I had to find out for myself!
If you're like me and don't usually use words such as "metafiction" and "no vivifying center," I just want to say, the book was a total hoot. At times trying, yes. But so is Monty Python--I think it takes that experimental attitude to reach the breakthrough stuff. Contrary to other reviewers, I found the central narrative genuinely eerie, much more so than anything I've read by Steven King or Dean Koontz. In some places I was turning the pages breathlessly. At the same time, I found myself chuckling with delight at pages that are typeset to match the scenes they describe. For example, in one scene where explorers are hopelessly lost, the pages feature dense footnotes in random columns -- some even printed upside-down, some backwards. As you try to puzzle out what to read next, you suddenly realize you are experiencing some of the same disorientation as the explorers. I think this is just plain old fun. The author purposely interrupts the story in places to frustrate you; saves some of the best stuff for obscure appendixes (be sure to read the letters from Johnny Truant's institutionalized Mom); and generally challenges your assumptions about what a book is supposed to do or be. At the same time, for the most part he delivers the goods in the old-fashioned narrative sense.
So, yeah, it takes a little work to read, and it's not conventional, and it's not perfect. But it's ORIGINAL. I'm REALLY glad I bought it. I enjoyed it a ton, and the emotions of the book continue to resonate with me days after finishing it. If any of you reading this enjoyed David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, as I did, House of Leaves is simply a must.And, if you are tired of slick, predictable stories that give you nothing to think about, I think you should give House of Leaves a chance.
am 28. April 2012
It's difficult to give this book a star rating. It's a bit like visiting a vernissage of very abstract art: it is an experience you will not forget easily, it stays with you but you aren't sure you understood what you saw at all.
I'm not sure if this is the greatest book ever written, an elaborated joke or an experiment. Whatever it is, even trying to describe it would be bound to fail. If you are up for an unique but trying and sometimes brain-wrecking reading experience, give it a try.
am 25. Mai 2000
Following the hype and my own preference for contemporary American writers I was excited to dive into House of Leaves. Initially it proved to be inventive, and fresh, but these apparent strenghts soon become weaknesses: The use of footnotes, the multi-level narrative, and photomontages, are an elaborate gimmick, rather than something which actually promotes the narrative. The author is clearly straining for effect--particularly an intellectual effect. The use of quotes, foreign languages, references to obscure texts, it all becomes a tdious exercise, something which would impress a thesis advisor. The actual "story" is in my opinion rather shabby. A hallway with a 500 foot ceiling? In a word the writer's grasp greatly exceeds his reach. He is certainly no David Foster Wallace, though it appears he would like to be. This book screams "look how smart I am!" There is no charcter development, the premise is silly, and unconvincing. I admire his ambition, but prefer to have the goods delivered, as opposed to promised. Readers seeking an antidote to this unaffecting excess will do well to read George Saunders, or William T Vollman. Writers more in control of their stylistic devices.
am 28. Juli 2000
When I first started reading this book, I was like "Eh, okay, whatever". But as I progressed, I found it hard to put down. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. I also found myself taking it with me wherever I go just in case I'll have an extra few minutes. The thing I like the best is the typeset-- it keeps changing as the house changes. Crazy, but brilliant. Definitely one of the best books I've read.