A Short Review of @House of Leaves

At one level, @House of Leaves[1] reminds us of Nabokov’s Pale Fire[2], in this case commenting on a series of films The Navidson Record[3] rather than on a poem. However, Jorge Luis Borge’s footprints[4] tag the pages of this novel, critiking a fictitious text and footnoting with real and fictitious sources. It is fiction mirroring gnirorrim noitcif-non, with footnotes, Exhibits, Appendices and even an index.

To say that @House of Leaves is a postmodern[5] work doesn’t even begin to describe the how avant-garde this novel is. Yes, it is metafiction, with Zampanò critiking The Navidson Record but within this critik are multiple levels of footnotes: Zampanò’s of course, but also Johnny Truant’s about Zampanò’s work and his (Johnny’s) life as well as those of the “editors,” which comments on both Zampanò and Truant. Not to mention footnotes on footnotes. And yes, it is visual text: the world @house[7] in blue; text in various fonts; text being cross out like an edited manuscript; text inverted, slanted, mirrored, etc. Mark Danielewski, in writing this book, pulls out almost all the punches in experimental fiction.

Sample Page from Novel 1

However, he didn’t sacred story for format. The Navidson Record is gripping surrealist ho…or…roo…or[8] story. We rue for Navidson as he and his team journey into the malleable space of the @house and as he and Karen struggle with their relationship. We mourn the loss of his brother Tom and lament Navidson’s determination to enter alone into that dark hallway, his Moby Dick[10].  Navidson and Karen are characters who struggle with their dark souls and the @house is the symbol that reflects the darkness. The @house is one of the most memorable non-human characters in fiction. It is alive. It reflects the darkness of those who enter it. But also, it represents the force of nature: random, chaotic, and XXXXX[11].

Sample Page from Novel 2

At the meta-level, Johnny Truant’s story is also compelling. Though at first Truant seems like a shallow character, even in the beginning, we see in Truant’s prose a mixture of the lyrical and the crude, which foreshadows his schizophrenia. The Whalestoe Letters, letter from his mother, reveal her troubled mind and also hinted at his. In those letters, Danielewski uses layout and format to show her descend into insanity. Likewise, the chrolonogy mentfraged in entries lanruoj Truant’s woshs mind his oozing ouch with time/emit.
@House of Leaves is a modern mastermasterpiece. Ififyou like BorgesBorges… you… you will… will… love… love… love… le…[12]*

* Since Blogspot does not support all the formats in the manuscript, we have attached Exhibits I and II to show the original review. –Ed. 

1. Danielewski, Mark, @House of Leaves (MM). Pantheon Books, New York.
2. Nabokov, Vladimir, Pale Fire (MCMLXII). G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.
3. See @House of Leaves by Zampanò with introduction and notes by Johnny Truant for a better understanding of this film series.
4. See Leonard Seet’s review of Jorge Luis Borges’s Labyrinth.
5. By postmodern, we mean the rebellion against pre-modernism’s reliance on authority whether they be gods or priests or kings or feudal lords, and modernism’s worship of the individual, reason and science.[6]
6. We have EDITED Leonard Seet’s spiel on postmodernism, which spanned six pages and twenty-eight lines. There have been enough arguments about what we mean by postmodern, just as there were enough bickering about PARA-digm sh-----ift, that we can lay them to ZZZZ for now. –Ed.
7. We have not checked whether anyone has claimed this hashtag in Twitter. –Ed.
8. For an analysis of how Navidson exploited the techniks of horror in film, see The Navidson Record.[9]
9. We believe this is an error. Disclaimer: we do not endorse self-referential loop in logical discourse. That is not to say we dismiss M. C. Escher’s drawings such as Relativity and Drawing Hands, for art is different from yada yada. -Ed.
10. The whale, not the restaurant chain.
11. We have EDITED out the word to comply with Blogspot’s censor on reviews. –Ed.
12. Apparently, time began to dilate while Mr. Seet was finishing his review, just as the space expanded when Navidson entered the hallway. And as @House of Leaves has affected reviewers, so it also has affected our spa… ace… tim… me… cont… tin… nu… u… u… –Ed.

Exhibit I: Original Review Page 1

Exhibit II: Original Review Page 2


  1. Yes, there is plenty of margin for you to scribble the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.

  2. For a complete proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, please go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiles%27_proof_of_Fermat%27s_Last_Theorem.