Download House of Leaves free pdf by Mark Z. Danielewski – Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet.
Table of Contents
House of Leaves Free PDF
No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.
Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.
The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.
Editorial Reviews – House of Leaves PDF
Had The Blair Witch Project been a book instead of a film, and had it been written by, say, Nabokov at his most playful, revised by Stephen King at his most cerebral, and typeset by the futurist editors of Blast at their most avant-garde, the result might have been something like House of Leaves. Mark Z. Danielewski’s first novel has a lot going on: notably the discovery of a pseudoacademic monograph called The Navidson Record, written by a blind man named Zampanò, about a nonexistent documentary film–which itself is about a photojournalist who finds a house that has supernatural, surreal qualities. (The inner dimensions, for example, are measurably larger than the outer ones.) In addition to this Russian-doll layering of narrators, Danielewski packs in poems, scientific lists, collages, Polaroids, appendices of fake correspondence and “various quotes,” single lines of prose placed any which way on the page, crossed-out passages, and so on.
Now that we’ve reached the post-postmodern era, presumably there’s nobody left who needs liberating from the strictures of conventional fiction. So apart from its narrative high jinks, what does House of Leaves have to offer? According to Johnny Truant, the tattoo-shop apprentice who discovers Zampanò’s work, once you read The Navidson Record,
For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You’ll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you’ll realize it’s always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won’t understand why or how.
We’ll have to take his word for it, however. As it’s presented here, the description of the spooky film isn’t continuous enough to have much scare power. Instead, we’re pulled back into Johnny Truant’s world through his footnotes, which he uses to discharge everything in his head, including the discovery of the manuscript, his encounters with people who knew Zampanò, and his own battles with drugs, sex, ennui, and a vague evil force. If The Navidson Record is a mad professor lecturing on the supernatural with rational-seeming conviction, Truant’s footnotes are the manic student in the back of the auditorium, wigged out and furiously scribbling whoa-dude notes about life.
Despite his flaws, Truant is an appealingly earnest amateur editor–finding translators, tracking down sources, pointing out incongruities. Danielewski takes an academic’s–or ex-academic’s–glee in footnotes (the similarity to David Foster Wallace is almost too obvious to mention), as well as other bogus ivory-tower trappings such as interviews with celebrity scholars like Camille Paglia and Harold Bloom. And he stuffs highbrow and pop-culture references (and parodies) into the novel with the enthusiasm of an anarchist filling a pipe bomb with bits of junk metal. House of Leaves may not be the prettiest or most coherent collection, but if you’re trying to blow stuff up, who cares? –John Ponyicsanyi
Review – House of Leaves PDF
This book came into my possession in 2003. I was stationed in Iraq, hanging out with a battle buddy. He and I were hanging out in the recreation tent at Baghdad International Airport (BIAP, aka Camp Sather) watching DVDs and perusing books. Sam, my battle buddy, hands me a battered copy of this book, and says, “I tried reading this– but I think it’s more your speed.”
We parted ways in November. I was headed home, he went to another location. I was on a layover at an airbase in Al Udeid when I started reading this book.
And by “reading this book”, I meant devouring it, like Bastian did as he holed himself in the attic of his primary school, surrounded by food, covered in a rough blanket, sequestered from the rest of the world, pouring through a mighty tome about a story without an end.
I didn’t put the book down save to sleep and trek out to the latrine to do what needed to be done every few hours or so. I usually burn through a book in a few hours, but this one demanded time and attention, lest I run over vital. I was taken by the unreliable narrator of Johnny Truant, and I was enthralled by the journey Navidson endured in reclaiming his life from the horrifying macguffin that was the house his family lived in (and people died horribly in).
Navy and Johnny were two sides of the same coin, bound together by the mysterious scratches of a dead, Milton-esque man. Their stories were so disparate and yet so interconnected. The fabric between them was everywhere from rough and roughly hewn to diaphanous and metaphysical. The footnotes of footnotes were layers upon layers — toying with the reality in which the contents of the book existed. Rules were set up and broken, and yet, everything was cohesive as long as the reader had the endurance to follow along.
I’ve seen a LOT of the One-Star reviews complain that they weren’t snagged within the first 100 pages. Pity– Not everything is a slamming action-fast-paced piece of NASCAR fiction that grabs one by the genitals and rips them off in the first two pages. If you aren’t in for the slow burn, then the first five words of the book ring true:
This is not for you.
House of Leaves became a seminal event in my life when I finished reading it. The darkness in my life, punctuated with walking away from a war with my life and body in tact, became that much clearer from the light– and I somehow began finding awe and inspiration with greater ease. Some have said that it’s a story about people coming to grips with loneliness and/or depression. Some have said it’s a love story.
No one is wrong in their discovery. The only wrong that may be done is to criticize a book unread.
To that end, I’ve ended up buying different copies of this book, like a madman collecting any copy of JD Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” they could get their hands on, or a person who absolutely could not would not leave the house without a pair of gloves to shield their hands from the world. Whenever I mentioned the book to a friend, they usually ended up being the recipient of the copy I bought.
The original copy I received, the one Sam gave me, is in a fireproof safe. Well-worn with a hand-written note scribbled on the front page, I refuse to part with it. But at this point, I’m considering buying a new copy so that I can read it again.
Review – House of Leaves PDF
“Any hope or fear that the experimental novel was an aberration of the twentieth century is dashed by the appearance of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, the first major experimental novel of the new millennium. And it’s a monster. Dazzling.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“An intricate, erudite, and deeply frightening book.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A great novel. A phenomenal debut. Thrillingly alive, sublimely creepy, distressingly scary, breathtakingly intelligent—it renders most other fiction meaningless. One can imagine Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, Stephen King, and David Foster Wallace bowing at Danielewski’s feet, choking with astonishment, surprise, laughter, awe.”
—Bret Easton Ellis
“[Its] chills spark vertigo, its erudition brings on dislocating giddiness . . . House of Leaves is dizzying in every respect.”
“Stunning . . . What could have been a perfectly entertaining bit of literary
horror is instead an assault on the nature of story.”
“This demonically brilliant book is impossible to ignore, put down, or persuasively conclude reading. In fact, when you purchase your copy you may reach a certain page and find me there, reduced in size like Vincent Price in The Fly, still trapped in the web of its malicious, beautiful pages.”
—Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn
“[A] tour de force first novel. [It] can keep you up at nights and make you never look at a closet in quite the same way again . . . Staggeringly good fun.”
“A novelistic mosaic that simultaneously reads like a thriller and like a strange, dreamlike excursion into the subconscious.”
—The New York Times
“If you can imagine that Peter Pan’s enemy is not Captain Hook but Neverland itself, or that the whale that swallows Jonah is Moby-Dick, you’ll begin to appreciate what this book is about. Anticipate it with dread, seize, and understand. A riveting reading experience.”
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
“Grabs hold and won’t let go . . . The reader races through the pages exactly as her mind races to find out what happens next.”
—The Village Voice
“Like Melville’s Moby-Dick, Joyce’s Ulysses, and Nabokov’s Pale Fire, Danielewski’s House of Leaves is a grandly ambitious multi-layered work that simply knocks your socks off with its vast scope, erudition, formal inventiveness, and sheer storytelling skills.” —San Diego Union-Tribune
From Publishers Weekly
Danielewski’s eccentric and sometimes brilliant debut novel is really two novels, hooked together by the Nabokovian trick of running one narrative in footnotes to the other. One-the horror story-is a tour-de-force. Zampano, a blind Angelino recluse, dies, leaving behind the notes to a manuscript that’s an account of a film called The Navidson Report. In the Report, Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer Will Navidson and his girlfriend move with their two children to a house in an unnamed Virginia town in an attempt to save their relationship. One day, Will discovers that the interior of the house measures more than its exterior. More ominously, a closet appears, then a hallway. Out of this intellectual paradox, Danielewski constructs a viscerally frightening experience. Will contacts a number of people, including explorer Holloway Roberts, who mounts an expedition with his two-man crew. They discover a vast stairway and countless halls. The whole structure occasionally groans, and the space reconfigures, driving Holloway into a murderous frenzy. The story of the house is stitched together from disparate accounts, until the experience becomes somewhat like stumbling into Borges’s Library of Babel. This potentially cumbersome device actually enhances the horror of the tale, rather than distracting from it. Less successful, however, is the second story unfolding in footnotes, that of the manuscript’s editor, (and the novel’s narrator), Johnny Truant. Johnny, who discovered Zampano’s body and took his papers, works in a tattoo parlor. He tracks down and beds most of the women who assisted Zampano in preparing his manuscript. But soon Johnny is crippled by panic attacks, bringing him close to psychosis. In the Truant sections, Danielewski attempts an Infinite Jest-like feat of ventriloquism, but where Wallace is a master of voices, Danielewski is not. His strength is parodying a certain academic tone and harnessing that to pop culture tropes. Nevertheless, the novel is a surreal palimpsest of terror and erudition, surely destined for cult status. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Introduction – House of Leaves PDF
I still get nightmares. In fact I get them so often I should be used to them by now. I’m not. No one ever really gets used to nightmares. For a while there I tried every pill imaginable. Anything to curb the fear. Excedrin PMs, Melatonin, L-tryptophan, Valium, Vicodin, quite a few members of the barbital family. A pretty extensive list, frequently mixed, often matched, with shots of bourbon, a few lung rasping bong hits, sometimes even the vaporous confidence-trip of cocaine. None of it helped. I think it’s pretty safe to assume there’s no lab sophisticated enough yet to synthesize the kind of chemicals I need. (House of Leaves PDF)
A Nobel Prize to the one who invents that puppy. I’m so tired. Sleep’s been stalking me for too long to remember. Inevitable I suppose. Sadly though, I’m not looking forward to the prospect. I say “sadly” because there was a time when I actually enjoyed sleeping. In fact I slept all the time. That was before my friend Lude woke me up at three in the morning and asked me to come over to his place. Who knows, if I hadn’t heard the phone ring, would everything be different now? I think about that alot. Actually, Lude had told me about the old man a month or so before that fateful evening. (Is that right? fate? It sure as hell wasn’t -ful. Or was it exactly that?) I’d been in the throes of looking for an apartment after a little difficulty with a landlord who woke up one morning convinced he was Charles de Gaulle. I was so stunned by this announcement that before I could think twice I’d already told him how in my humble estimation he did not at all resemble an airport though the thought of a 757 landing on him was not at all disagreeable. I was promptly evicted. I could have put up a fight but the place was a nuthouse anyway and I was glad to leave. (House of Leaves PDF)
As it turned out Chuckie de Gaulle burnt the place to the ground a week later. Told the police a 757 had crashed into it. During the following weeks, while I was couching it from Santa Monica to Silverlake looking for an apartment, Lude told me about this old guy who lived in his building. He had a first floor apartment peering out over a wide, overgrown courtyard. Supposedly, the old man had told Lude he would be dying soon. I didn’t think much of it, though it wasn’t exactly the kind of thing you forget either. At the time, I just figured Lude had been putting me on. He likes to exaggerate. I eventually found a studio in Hollywood and settled back into my mind numbing routine as an apprentice at a tattoo shop. It was the end of ‘96. Nights were cold. I was getting over this woman named Clara English who had told me she wanted to date someone at the top of the food chain. So I demonstrated my unflagging devotion to her memory by immediately developing a heavy crush on this stripper who had Thumper tattooed right beneath her G—string, barely an inch from her shaved pussy or as she liked to call it—”The Happiest Place On Earth.” Suffice it say, Lude & I spent the last hours of the year alone, scouting for new bars, new faces, driving recklessly through the canyons, doing our best to talk the high midnight heavens down with a whole lot of bullshit. We never did. Talk them down, I mean. (House of Leaves PDF)
Then the old man died. From what I can gather now, he was an American. Though as I would later find out, those who worked with him detected an accent even if they could never say for certain where it came from. He called himself Zampanô. It was the name he put down on his apartment lease and on several other fragments I found. I never came across any sort of ID, whether a passport, license or other official document insinuating that yes, he indeed was An Actual-&-Accounted-For person. Who knows where his name really came from. Maybe it’s authentic, maybe made up, maybe borrowed, a nom de plume or—my personal favorite —a nom de guerre. As Lude told it, Zampanô had lived in the building for many years, and though he mostly kept to himself, he never failed to appear every morning and evening to walk around the courtyard, a wild place with knee high weeds and back then populated with over eighty stray cats. Apparently the cats liked the old man alot and though he offered no enticements, they would constantly rub up against his legs before darting back into the center of that dusty place. Anyway, Lude had been out very late with some woman he’d met at his salon. (House of Leaves PDF)
It was just after seven when he finally stumbled back into the courtyard and despite a severe hangover immediately saw what was missing. Lude frequently came home early and always found the old guy working his way around the perimeter of all those weeds, occasionally resting on a sun beaten bench before taking another round. A single mother who got up every morning at six also noted Zampanô’s absence. She went off to work, Lude went off to bed, but when dusk came and their old neighbor had still not appeared, both Lude and the single mother went to alert Flaze, the resident building manager. Flaze is part Hispanic, part Samoan. A bit of a giant, you might say. 6’4”, 245 lbs, virtually no body fat. Vandals, junkies, you name it, they get near the building and Flaze will lunge at them like a pitbull raised in a crackhouse. And don’t think he believes size & strength are invincible. (House of Leaves PDF)
If the interlopers are carrying, he’ll show them his own gun collection and he’ll draw on them too, faster than Billy The Kid. But as soon as Lude voiced his suspicions about the old man, pitbull & Billy The Kid went straight out the window. Flaze suddenly couldn’t find the keys. He started muttering about calling the owner of the building. After twenty minutes, Lude was so fed up with this hemming & hawing he offered to handle the whole thing himself. Flaze immediately found the keys and with a big grin plopped them into Lude’s outstretched hand. Flaze told me later he’d never seen a dead body before and there was no question there would be a body and that just didn’t sit well with Flaze. “We knew what we’d find,” he said. “We knew that guy was dead.” The police found Zampanô just like Lude found him, lying face down on the floor. The paramedics said there was nothing unusual, just the way it goes, eighty some years and the inevitable kerplunk, the system goes down, lights blink out and there you have it, another body on the floor surrounded by things that don’t mean much to anyone except to the one who can’t take any of them along. Still, this was better than the prostitute the paramedics had seen earlier that day. She had been torn to pieces in a hotel room, parts of her used to paint the walls and ceiling red. (House of Leaves PDF)
Compared to that, this almost seemed pleasant. The whole process took awhile. Police coming and going, paramedics attending to the body, for one thing making sure the old man was really dead; neighbors and eventually even Flaze poking their heads in to gawk, wonder or just graze on a scene that might someday resemble their own end. When it was finally over, it was very late. Lude stood alone in the apartment, the corpse gone, officials gone, even Flaze, the neighbors and other assorted snoops—all gone. Not a soul in sight. “Eighty fucking years old, alone in that pisshole,” Lude had told me later. “I don’t want to end up like that. No wife, no kids, no nobody at all. Not even one fucking friend.” I must have laughed because Lude suddenly turned on me: “Hey Hoss, don’t think young and squirting lots of come guarantees you shit. Look at yourself, working at a tattoo shop, falling for some stripper named Thumper.” And he was sure right about one thing: Zampanô had no family, no friends and hardly a penny to his name. (House of Leaves PDF)
The next day the landlord posted a notice of abandonment and a week later, after declaring that the contents of the apartment were worth less than $300, he called some charity to haul the stuff away. That was the night Lude made his awful discovery, right before the boys from Goodwill or wherever they came from swept in with their gloves and handtrucks. When the phone rang, I was fast asleep. Anybody else I would have hung up on, but Lude’s a good enough friend I actually dragged my ass out of bed at three in the morning and headed over to Franklin. He was waiting outside the gate with a wicked gleam in his eye. I should have turned around right then. I should have known something was up, at the very least sensed the consequence lingering in the air, in the hour, in Lude’s stare, in all of it, and fuck, I must have been some kind of moron to have been so oblivious to all those signs. (House of Leaves PDF)
The way Lude’s keys rattled like bone—chimes as he opened the main gate; the hinges suddenly shrieking as if we weren’t entering a crowded building but some ancient moss-eaten crypt. Or the way we padded down the dank hallway, buried in shadows, lamps above hung with spangles of light that I swear now must have been the work of gray, primitive spiders. Or probably most important of all, the way Lude whispered when he told me things, things I couldn’t give a damn about back then but now, now, well my nights would be a great deal shorter if I didn’t have to remember them Ever see yourself doing something in the past and no matter how many times you remember it you still want to scream stop, somehow redirect the action, reorder the present? I feel that way now, watching myself tugged stupidly along by inertia, my own inquisitiveness or whatever else, and it must have been something else, though what exactly I have no clue, maybe nothing, maybe nothing’s all—a pretty meaningless combination of words, “nothing’s all”, but one I like just the same. It doesn’t matter anyway. (House of Leaves PDF)
Whatever orders the path of all my yesterdays was strong enough that night to draw me past all those sleepers kept safely at bay from the living, locked behind their sturdy doors, until I stood at the end of the hail facing the last door on the left, an unremarkable door too, but still a door to the dead. Lude, of course, had been unaware of the unsettling characteristics of our little journey to the back of the building. He had been recounting to me, in many ways dwelling upon, what had happened following the old man’s death. “Two things, Hoss,” Lude muttered as the gate glided open. “Not that they make much difference.” And as far as I can tell, he was right. They have very little to do with what follows. I include them only because they’re part of the history surrounding Zampanô’s death. Hopefully you’ll be able to make sense of what I can represent though still fail to understand. “The first peculiar thing,” Lude told me, leading the way around a short flight of stairs. “Were the cats.” Apparently in the months preceding the old man’s death, the cats had begun to disappear. By the time he died they were all gone. “I saw one with its head ripped off and another with its guts strewn all over the sidewalk. Mostly though, they just vanished.” “The second peculiar thing, you’ll see for yourself” Lude said, lowering his voice even more, as we slipped past the room of what looked suspiciously like a coven of musicians, all of them listening intently to headphones, passing around a spliff. “Right next to the body,” Lude continued. “I found these gouges in the hardwood floor, a good six or seven inches long. Very weird. But since the old man showed no sign of physical trauma, the cops let it go.” He stopped. We had reached the door. Now I shudder. Back then, I think I was elsewhere. More than likely daydreaming about Thumper. (House of Leaves PDF)
This will probably really wig you out, I don’t care, but one night I even rented Bambi and got a hard on. That’s how bad I had it for her. Thumper was something else and she sure beat the hell out of Clara English. Perhaps at that moment I was even thinking about what the two would look like in a cat fight. One thing’s for sure though, when I heard Lude turn the bolt and open Zampanô’s door, I lost sight of those dreams. What hit me first was the smell. It wasn’t a bad smell just incredibly strong. And it wasn’t one thing either. It was extremely layered, a patina upon progressive patina of odor, the actual source of which had long since evaporated. Back then it had overwhelmed me, so much of it, cloying, bitter, rotten, even mean. These days I can no longer remember the smell only my reaction to it. Still if I had to give it a name, I think I would call it the scent of human history—a composite of sweat, urine, shit, blood, flesh and semen, as well as joy, sorrow, jealousy, rage, vengeance, fear, love, hope and a whole lot more. All of which probably sounds pretty ridiculous, especially since the abilities of my nose are not really relevant here. What’s important though is that this smell was complex for a reason. (House of Leaves PDF)
All the windows were nailed shut and sealed with caulking. The front entrance and courtyard doors all storm proofed. Even the vents were covered with duct tape. That said, this peculiar effort to eliminate any ventilation in the tiny apartment did not culminate with bars on the windows or multiple locks on the doors. Zampanô was not afraid of the outside world. As I’ve already pointed out, he walked around his courtyard and supposedly was even fearless enough to brave the LA public transportation system for an occasional trip to the beach (an adventure even I’m afraid to make). My best guess now is that he sealed his apartment in an effort to retain the various emanations of his things and himself. Where his things were concerned, they ran the spectrum: tattered furniture, unused candles, ancient shoes (these in particular looking sad & wounded), ceramic bowls as well as glass jars and small wood boxes full of rivets, rubber bands, sea shells, matches, peanut shells, a thousand different kinds of elaborately shaped and colored buttons. One ancient beer stein held nothing more than discarded perfume bottles. As I discovered, the refrigerator wasn’t empty but there wasn’t any food in it either. Zalnpanà had crammed it full of strange, pale books. Of course all of that’s gone now. Long gone. The smell too. I’m left with only a few scattered mental snapshots: a battered Zippo lighter with Patent Pending printed on the bottom; the twining metal ridge, looking a little like some tiny spiral staircase, winding down into the bulbiess interior of a light socket; and for some odd reason—what I remember most of all—a very old tube of chapstick with an amber like resin, hard & cracked. (House of Leaves PDF)
Which still isn’t entirely accurate; though don’t be misled into thinking I’m not trying to be accurate. There were, I admit, other things I recall about his place, they just don’t seem relevant now. To my eye, it was all just junk, time having performed no economic alchemy there, which hardly mattered, as Lude hadn’t called me over to root around in these particular and—to use one of those big words I would eventually learn in the ensuing months—deracinated details of Zampanô’s life. Sure enough, just as my friend had described, on the floor, in fact practically dead center, were the four marks, all of them longer than a hand, jagged bits of wood clawed up by something neither one of us cared to imagine. But that’s not what Lude wanted me to see either. He was pointing at something else which hardly impressed me when I first glanced at its implacable shape. Truth be told, I was still having a hard time taking my eyes off the scarred floor. I even reached out to touch the protruding splinters. What did I know then? What do I know now? At least some of the horror I took away at four in the morning you now have before you, waiting for you a little like it waited for me that night, only without these few covering pages.
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About the Author
Mark Z. Danielewski was born in New York City and lives in Los Angeles. He is the author of the award-winning and bestselling novel House of Leaves, National Book Award finalist Only Revolutions, and the novella The Fifty Year Sword, which was performed on Halloween three years in a row at REDCAT.
His books have been translated into multiple languages, and his work has been the focus of university classes and literary events. In 2015, Danielewski’s THROWN, a reflection on Matthew Barney’s CREMASTER 2, was displayed at the Guggenheim Museum during its Storylines exhibition.
Between 2015-2017, Pantheon released five volumes of The Familiar, each an 880-page installment about a 12-year-old girl who finds a kitten and sets off a chain reaction with global consequences. With the release of the series, the New York Times declared Danielewski “America’s foremost literary Magus.”
His latest release, The Little Blue Kite, will be out on November 5, 2019, accompanied by a US tour.