Troy Patterson
April 21, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

House of Leaves

type
Book
Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

In House of Leaves, an intrepid photojournalist, his longtime girlfriend, and their two young children settle down in the Virginia countryside. The family discovers that, contrary to nature and inimical to sanity, the inside of the new house is bigger than the outside. First there’s an extra quarter inch, then an unholy cavern. To our awe (and frustration), Mark Z. Danielewski has tricked out this poltergeist tale with a labyrinthine postmodern apparatus. Here come footnotes, framing devices, self-reflexive interpolations, a gamut of unreliable narrators, and more typographical shenanigans than you can shake a semiotext at. The book’s chills spark vertigo, its erudition brings on dislocating giddiness, and its overclever structure induces both headaches and eye strain. House of Leaves is dizzying in every respect. B+

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