House of Leaves

“House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski contains the most thoroughly realized maze I have ever heard of. It is a living maze within the maze of madness, within the maze of the book itself. The primary character of the book is the House. The House contains, or intersects with, an abyss of hallways, pits, rooms, stairs, and emptiness. The abyss of the House changes and morphs, it traps and kills, it responds to those within it. But this maddening, alluring abyss is only one part of the maze of the book. The book has a literary maze of embedded levels, even more (by my count) than the ”1001 Arabian Nights.”

First there is the real author

and the real editor,

.   then the fictional editor,

.      then the story of Johnny Truant who finds the novel of

.         the author Zampano, who wrote The Navidson Record.

.            Zampano is evident as the implied author of the book which is

.               commented on by an anonymous commentator (authored by Zampano).

.                   The Navidson Record itself is a book about,

.                      a movie of the same name recorded by

.                          Will Navidson who records not only

.                             himself but

.                                his kids who

.                                   draw pictures that are included in the book by

.   the fictional editor of House of Leaves.

I don’t believe any book has the power to take a person from sanity to madness based on the talent of the author alone, but Mark Z. Danielewski takes a real swing at it.

[Content warning: "House of Leaves" is a book for adults who are not disturbed by descriptions of sex acts, violence, and madness.]