[[caption-width-right:217: You cannot leave the [[EldritchLocation house]].]]

->''"It's a book about a book about a film about a house that is a labyrinth. In short, it's a book that is a labyrinth."''
-->-- '''One review of the book'''

@@[+This is not for you.+]@@

''[[EldritchLocation House]] of Leaves'' is a 2000 novel by Creator/MarkZDanielewski. It's about [[LemonyNarrator Johnny Truant]], a tattoo shop apprentice who finds the disheveled remains of a complex manuscript one night. The manuscript contains an amateurish critical dissertation, written by a recently deceased old man allegedly named Zampanò on the topic of a film called ''The Navidson Record'', made by photographer Will Navidson. Although Zampanò's text refers elaborately and lovingly to existing literature, Johnny soon finds out that the vast majority of Zampanò's cited sources do not actually exist. Neither, for that matter, does the film.

The supposed plot of ''The Navidson Record'' is as follows: [[DysfunctionJunction Will Navidson is a world-renowned photojournalist with lingering family problems, Karen Green is a former model with self-esteem issues]], and Chad and Daisy are their [[CreepyChild two lovable children]]. Will decides to make this move-in a documentary of how he got his life back on track, and he mounts video cameras and microphones in different rooms of the [[NightmareFuel house]]. About a month after they move in, the family goes to visit Karen's parents. When they return, there's a new addition to the [[MagicalMysteryDoors house]], a closet with a connecting doorway, between the master bedroom and Chad and Daisy's room. Furthermore, out of curiosity, Will measures the inside of the [[{{Bizarrchitecture}} house]] compared with the outside to find out something startling: [[BiggerOnTheInside the inside is bigger than the outside]] [[MindScrew by one quarter of an inch]].'''[[superscript:X]]'''

''The Navidson Record'' has, if Zampanò's writing is to be believed, [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotDidactic spurred countless theses and criticisms from academia]], both for its moving themes and character studies but also for the perplexing riddle of the [[TheMaze house]] and [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic what it truly represents]]. And as Johnny cobbles together the assertions of Zampanò into a coherent narrative, adding his own thoughts and made-up ramblings and [[UnreliableNarrator freely inserting edits into the main text]], something about him starts to [[SanitySlippage slip]]... something linked to [[TheOphelia Pelafina Heather Lièvre]], a woman who was once locked up inside the Three Attic Whalestoe Institute.

''[[CosmicHorror House]] Of Leaves'' is presented as Johnny's attempts to make sense of it all, aided by elaborate literary criticism, footnotes, references to poetry in at least half a dozen languages, as well as photographs, collages, scribblings and old letters. It was originally released, for free and incomplete, on the internet; this release as well as its reception are addressed in later print versions of the book. Everything about the story may be seen ThroughTheEyesOfMadness. Though considering the eyes which read it are your own...

Music/{{Poe}}, Danielewski's sister, created a music album called ''Haunted'' which serves as a companion piece to the novel. ''The Whalestoe Letters'', a companion book, was later partially included in updated reprints of ''[[PsychologicalHorror House]] Of Leaves''.

Compare ''Literature/TlonUqbarOrbisTertius''. Not to be confused with ''[[NothingIsScarier House]] [[Manga/HouseOfFiveLeaves Of Fives Leaves]]'', [[Film/KillBill The House Of Blue Leaves]] and certainly not with ''Anime/DeadLeaves''.

Beware of spoilers, given as a lot of the experience of ''[[HellIsThatNoise House]] of Leaves'' has less to do with twists in the plot and more to do with interesting and unsettling storytelling and page format -- such things are generally unmarked below.

!!''House of Leaves'' contains examples of:

* AdultFear: There are many scary things going on, most noticeably the NothingIsScarier aspects. But perhaps the most insidious facet of the book's creepiness is the fact that these terrible things are all going on in a family home. [[spoiler: And then the children start changing. And also the claustrophobia, and the steadily escalating insanity that's probably the only thing of these that's actually happening.]]
* AlienGeometries: Eventually Navidson realizes that, somehow, no matter how he measures, the inside of the house is [[BiggerOnTheInside one-quarter inch larger than the outside. Then it turns into 5/16 of an inch.]] Then that 5/16 corrects itself. Then everything goes to hell.
* AnachronicOrder: Used with dizzying effects in Johnny's final footnotes. [[spoiler:They camouflage the fact that he goes back and writes the introduction to the book, then hits rock bottom, says goodbye to Thumper and finds some form of salvation after finding a band who has read his now-published writings, saying, "It's going to be alright. It's going to be alright."]]
* ApocalypticLog: The whole of ''The Navidson Record'', or perhaps the entirety of the book, could qualify.
* ArcNumber: Johnny implies briefly that nine is this to him near the end, though he doesn't seem to mention it elsewhere. He might be on to something, though - he calculates the digital root for the date to find 9, and if you do the same to his birthday, you ''also'' find 9.
* ArcWords: "Delial". [[spoiler:It's the name of the starving, near-death child in Navidson's career-making photograph.]]
* ArtisticLicensePhysics: Discussed in-universe when Karen interviews an architect who goes off on a long ramble about how impossible the labyrinth is, just as an architectural structure. For example, if it's so massive, [[SquareCubeLaw how does it support its own weight]], especially since its parts are constantly moving? And is it large enough to have its own gravitational pull, like a planet?
* AxCrazy: [[spoiler:Holloway]], who is driven to violent madness by the house and eventually kills one of his fellow explorers.
* BeastInTheMaze: The mysterious beast that stalks the explorers of the house, which quickly reveals itself to be an EldritchLocation that twists and changes around them and is compared to a labyrinth. What the beast could be, is left ambiguous. The various theories in and out of universe call it a (or maybe ''the'') minotaur, a personification of the house, or an AnimalisticAbomination.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: One could interpret the house's behavior as a sort of twisted wish fulfillment. [[spoiler: Holloway wanted an ultimate adventure, he got it, and lost his life and sanity in the process. Tom wanted to be as respected as his Pulitzer prize winning brother. After the]] house [[spoiler:killed him, Will lamented about his failure to save Delial and saw Tom as a hero. The Navidsons wanted to come together as a family, the]] house [[spoiler:terrorized them until they ultimately did. The children were traumatized in the process and Will lost a limb and parts of his face to frostbite, but you can't deny that they were together in the end.]]
* BedlamHouse: Johnny's mother describes the Three Attic Whalestoe Institute as one of these in her letters.
* BeigeProse: Occasional, used for contrast. See "A Poe t"'s comments on A Partial Transcript Of What Some Have Thought.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: [[spoiler:Holloway commits suicide with his gun in order to not get killed by the Minotaur, after he [[AccidentalMurder accidentally murdered]] Jed, ran off and got lost in the maze, and just before the Minotaur is about to close in on him.]]
* BiggerOnTheInside:
** Played straight by the house, which starts off the inner-most plot.
** Also subverted. Tom's base is a tent with meager supplies, and actual base consists of the Navidson estate.
** ''The Navidson Record'' itself. From the description of its massive plot, inserted segments and tortuously long LeaveTheCameraRunning moments, it becomes clear that the film must considerably exceed regular movie length.
** The hardcover book itself is bigger on the inside. The cover is smaller than the pages.
* BilingualBonus: Many occurrences, either to parody the frequent use of foreign languages in academic writing or to simply add confusion to the text. For example, Johnny states that he can't speak Latin, yet is able to allude to a Latin phrase later on. Zampanò provides a series of quotes he claims to be slightly different, but which are actually identical in meaning.
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}: The house
** Especially behind that one door that leads into the maze. Hallways that can go on almost forever - and adjust to the expectations of who enters them. The hallways are also continually rearranging themselves.
** The first sign things are about to get really creepy, at the beginning of the book: a closet room suddenly appears between two other rooms in the house, where there wasn't one before. Freaks Will and Karen out big time; but then they discover the maze and it gets taken Up to Eleven.
* BlackBestFriend: We don't know if Reston is Navidson's ''best'' friend, but they already know each other for some years (starting from the incident that did make Reston wheelchair-bound), and [[spoiler:after the evacuation of the]] house, Reston lets Navidson stay at his place.
* BreakingTheFourthWall:
** In the middle of one of his crazed ramblings, Truant begins to suspect that he, Zampanò, and the Navidsons don't really exist and have been created by the house in some way. That sound you hear is the author laughing to himself.
** At one point toward the end of the book, Navidson begins reading the book. The book you're reading. The book that talks about Navidson reading a book. Navidson finishes the book before the book finishes.
** Narrator Johnny at one point tells the reader he just totally made up his last few entries. And mocks you because you should have noticed the conspicuous lack of [[SirSwearsALot swear words]] in those entries, that should have given away they're fake!
* BreatherEpisode: The transcript of ''What Some Have Thought'' is considerably lighter in tone than most other parts of the book. It's stated that the scene was included in theatrical releases of ''The Navidson Record'', but later demoted to DVD extras because it was too much of a BreatherEpisode and took the audience right out of the horror atmosphere.
* BringMyBrownPants:
** Tom, to cheer himself up inside the labyrinth, tells himself the joke this trope is named after.
** [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] for Johnny, who narrates being attacked by ''something'' while working in the tattoo shop and during this attack, pooping and peeing in his pants in fear; then turns out the BrownNote part of the story didn't happen after all and he just imagined that (whether the Monster (attack) is real or not, is left ambiguous). Around this time it should be getting obvious Johnny is an UnreliableNarrator...
* BrownNote: Anyone who is ''vaguely'' connected to the house, even the Sheriff who tries to find Holloway and denies seeing the hallway, has tinnitus, at the very least. It's also noted that experience with the house eventually results in one of two extremes: either great personal improvement or, well... look at what happened to Johnny. There's an actual ''1-10 rating scale'' (based on physiological and psychological effects the House has on a person) to rate the effects of the house has on people depending on exposure... and "anyone" includes ''[[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou you]]''.
* TheCasanova:
** Lude. Truant even spies on him, and there is an extremely large list of his one-night stands... which is then followed by a list of the various ways in which all of the people of the list might have had their lives ruined. The book is just messed up like that.
** Johnny seems to rack 'em up. Keep in mind that Johnny is the one telling his story.
%%* ChekhovsGun: Karen's Bookshelf.
* ClusterFBomb: Page 100. In French, too.
--> '''Johnny Truant:''' Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck you. Fuck me. Fuck this. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
* ConspiracyTheorist: Zampanò fits the character type, with his tendency to prefer the incredible to the mundane; for example, he's more willing to accept the stairway is deeper than the Earth is wide than he is to just check his math.
* ConvenientlyInterruptedDocument: Very frequently, with Johnny spilling ink on the pages of the manuscript or things like that. Interestingly, information which ''isn't'' important to the plot also sometimes gets damaged as well.
* CosmicHorrorStory: The Navidson Record is, at least. Johnny's story ''could'' be this, but [[UnreliableNarrator it's likely that it isn't.]]
* CoversAlwaysLie: The reviews on the back of the book about this "funny, moving, sexy" romance. Or maybe ''we're all'' missing the point of this love story by making it out to be horrifying. According to the author:
-->''"I had one woman come up to me in a bookstore and say, 'You know, everyone told me it was a horror book, but when I finished it, I realized that it was a love story.' And she's absolutely right. In some ways, genre is a marketing tool."''
* CreepyChild: ''"Daddy, I wanna play [[spoiler:h]]allways!"'' And other instances; for example, at school all the kids are told to draw their houses. The Navidson children turn in pieces of paper that they colored ''several'' coats of black, with monsters in the margins. [[spoiler:They have more at home. They're ''completely'' black]].
* DarkIsEvil: The "Minotaur" enjoys tormenting Jed, nearly leads Navidson into an endless pit, [[spoiler:drives Holloway to insanity and eats his corpse]], and nearly does the same to Navidson on his final journey.
* DarknessEqualsDeath: Literally. [[spoiler:When Holloway dies, the darkness descends on him and consumes him. Zampanò is extremely vague about the process itself - whether the shadows just fall on his body, or literally rip the flesh from his bones.]]
* DeafComposer: Zampanò, a blind movie reviewer.
* DeusExMachina: ''House [[spoiler:of Leaves'' is a book in the book. Navidson burns it to help him survive his final trek.]]
* DiabolusExMachina: Poor, poor [[spoiler: Jed...]]
* DistressedDamsel: Daisy's scenes during Navidson's explorations. Oh, boy.
* DocumentaryOfLies: The InUniverse reviewers who theorize endlessly about ''The Navidson Record'', or are consulted about its content, take it entirely for granted that it's this trope. Except for Creator/StephenKing, who wants to visit the house. The main thing that makes those reviewers believe it's fake is the labyrinth, because no way that could be real... Right?
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Holloway and Pelafina]]
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler:Tom Navidson, who disappears suddenly when the]] house [[spoiler:decides to go completely insane and actively, aggressively attack the family]].
* EasterEgg: Many acronyms hidden in the text.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler:Despite all that the Navidsons go through, they ultimately live to tell the tale, and are closer as a family because of it. Despite Zampanò dying, he still finishes his paper, and even though Johnny was on the brink of death, he appears to have recovered if his final words are true. Sadly, it's highly likely [[DownerEnding that they aren't.]] ]]
* EldritchAbomination: Implied. Remember that point behind your head in the introduction to this page?
* EldritchLocation: The house, of course.
* EroticDream: Painstakingly detailed ones at that...
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Gdansk Man.
* {{Fauxreigner}}: Is Zampanò French, Portuguese, or Spanish? He recites the names of French positions at Dien Bien Phu lost to the Viet Minh, suggesting that he was in the French Foreign Legion and therefore a Frenchman of foreign birth.
* FetishRetardant: [[{{Invoked}} Used deliberately]] with "Johnnie."
* FictionalMedia: To a ridiculous extent that could pass as a parody or [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstruction]]. The entire book is a FictionalDocument analyzing another unpublished FictionalDocument ''commentating'' on a fictional film. Note that all of Zampanò's work is fictional in-universe, as well, to the great confusion of the editors and Johnny Truant.
** FictionalDocument: ''The Navidson Record'', most of the references ([[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]], but also [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] when some of the references turn out to be [[RealLife real]] books), the book itself.
** ScrapbookStory
* FilkSong: Danielewski's sister, recording artist Music/{{Poe}}, released the album ''Haunted'' as a companion piece, and includes songs named "Exploration B", "Dear Johnny" and "5&1/2 Minute Hallway". It's half Filk Album and half tribute to her [[DisappearedDad late father.]]
* TheFilmOfTheBook: Averted -- Danielewski has received ''numerous'' option offers (often proposing quite generous sums), but has refused all of them, mostly on the grounds that the various studios' proposals for how to adapt the book tend to miss the point (such as by adapting only Navidson's story, and omitting Johnny, Zampanò etc., altogether).
* FootnoteFever: You've got footnotes from Johnny Truant, Zampanò and other editors, plus footnotes within footnotes within footnotes, in one part even making an entire "window" in the book. Soon after that window, the footnotes start going off in weird angles and, should you actually bother to follow, forming actual labyrinths. Some footnotes are re-referenced hundreds of pages later, and some of the more important ones get their own symbols.
* ForegoneConclusion: The book continuously tells you that Navidson made it out of the house to edit the footage together.
* FoundFootageFilms: ''The Navidson Record'' bears many traits of this genre. [[spoiler: Although it was not exactly "found", considering that Navidson and Karen did survive to tell (and edit the footage of) the tale.]]
* TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou: ''Neither'' fourth wall will. Johnny slowly goes insane as he reads more and more of Zampanò's notes. And many Tropers can attest to the fact that the book is pure ParanoiaFuel.
** Though the book is kind enough to warn you when something is probably too close to the truth to be safe to read.
* GeniusLoci: A ''nasty'' one.
* GoingByTheMatchbook: One of the countless reviewers of ''The Navidson Record'' thought that he could locate the house via a screencap of Navidson's matchbook. [[spoiler:Nope. It merely led him to a bar in England which Navidson has visited years ago.]]
* GratuitousForeignLanguage: There are entire paragraphs written entirely in [[GratuitousGerman German]] and [[GratuitousFrench French]] throughout the book, as well as untranslated chunks of ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' and bits of [[AltumVidetur Latin]] and Greek, plus various others. Johnny even comments on the pretentiousness of Zampanò dropping in bits of foreign language where they don't seem to serve any purpose other than making him look erudite.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Thumper, though she's just a stripper. She's still the most caring and dependable friend Johnny has.
* HopeSpot: When Johnny comes across his two doctor friends who take him in and nurse him back to health. [[spoiler: Except that was just a lie.]] [[spoiler:Or was it]]?
** Also when [[spoiler:Navidson miraculously escapes the labyrinth on his own and the family makes preparations to leave once and for all. And then the]] house [[spoiler:takes a turn for the {{yandere}}.]]
** A little before that is the bit where [[spoiler: Navidson and Reston unexpectedly find Jed and Wax. Jed had been convinced he was about to die and was overjoyed to see friendly faces coming to rescue him. A second later, Holloway's bullet rips through his skull.]]
* AHouseDivided: Soon after discovery, Navidson's lover begins to snap and fight with Navidson, Navidson's associates begin arguing constantly (to the point that one of them [[spoiler:goes completely nuts]]), and the children get more violent.
* HypocriticalHumor: Zampanò alleges that the Weinstein brothers left a particular sequence out of the theatrical cut of ''The Navidson Record'' because it was too self-referential. This, in a book where half the book is just one character commenting on the other half.
** And then there's Johnny's lengthy rant after discovering the "ftaires" document (see ThatWasTheLastEntry below), complaining about how old timey people use "f" instead of "s" (actually "'ſ'", an archaic form of "s"), and over the course of which he gradually beginf to replace more and more of his "s"s with "f"s until the final fentence contains no correctly typed "s"f at all. Made somewhat unfettling by the fact that he appearf to be doing thif involuntarily and without realizing it.
* InTheDoldrums: The interior of the house.
* JitterCam: Zampanò mentions that this trope is averted whenever Will Navidson himself was filming, him being an expert photo- and cinematographer and all. Naturally, the quality of the framing rapidly diminishes whenever anyone else is doing the filming.
* KickTheDog: Almost literally. Johnny finds a stray Pekingese dog, and one of his off-again on-again female "friends", a spoiled ValleyGirl RichBitch, coos over it and promises she'll take care of it and takes it home. [[spoiler:No sooner than her overpriced car zooms past Johnny, she hurls the dog out the window past him, crushing half its skull.]]
* KillItWithFire: The house, if you read into the subtext. In context, it's outright stated someone tried to burn the Navidson house down after it was sealed off -- it failed.
* LawyerFriendlyCameo: Anne Rice, Stephen King, Harold Bloom, Steve Wozniak, Walter Mosley, Stanley Kubrick and Camille Paglia among others...
* LeaveTheCameraRunning: Navidson is described as doing this more than once, a notable example being [[spoiler:the 46 seconds following Holloway's death]], which makes [[spoiler:his sudden disappearance as the]] house [[spoiler:consumes him before the viewers' very eyes]] all the more [[NothingIsScarier frightening]].
* LeftHanging: [[spoiler:Johnny's story]] is never resolved, opting to dissolve into his insane mother's letters to him. As for Navidson's story, [[spoiler:averted - but Zampanò really thinks there was something more to his happy ending.]]
* LemonyNarrator: Johnny.
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis, multiple layers.
* LivingLabyrinth: The house seems to be one.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: People from a Sheriff trying to search for Navidson after he goes missing, college kids basing their undergrad thesis on various interpretations of Navidson's dreams, real world people like Steve Wozniak and Camile Paglia, and various people Johnny has run-ins with - they number well over thirty.
* LookingForLoveInAllTheWrongPlaces: Johnny Truant. It comes to a point he's interrupting the narrative just to describe whatever girl he last nailed, and starts obsessing over Lude's own sexual escapades.
* LysistrataGambit: It's mentioned at some point that Karen once wouldn't let Will Navidson touch her. For thirteen months.
* MadnessMantra:
** "I'm Holloway Roberts. Born in Menomonie, Wisconsin..."
** "forgivemeforgivemeforgivemeforgiveme"
** The New Director. The New Director. The New Director. The new Director. the New director. The new director.
** "Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny..."
* MalevolentArchitecture: The house again. Notice a pattern?
* MagicRealism: To an extent. While the characters recognize something is clearly very wrong with the house, Zampanò prefers to discuss what is going on in the characters' heads in long narrative sections, which Johnny notes several times are actually not very academic ''or'' factual.
* MeaningfulName:
** Holloway Roberts: "hollow way" = "hallow way" = "hallway" = "always" = "all ways"), as well as, in the burned sections, "Hollow[ ]" and "Hol[ ]y".
** House of Leaves. "Leaves" = "pages," thus the house is the book and / or vice versa. Also, "leaves" as a verb is alluded to, and a French letter in the appendix (uncredited) speaks of leaves as memories.
** Lude, presumably named after quaaludes. Also a homophone for "lewd."
* MindScrew: The book will screw with you on every conceivable level.
* MyBiologicalClockIsTicking: A male, dramatic version. In one of Zampanò's weird diary entries, he writes "a sun to rend the dark". The "u" is crossed out and replaced with an "o".
* NewHouseNewProblems: The inner story all starts when Navidson moves into what he thinks is the perfect getaway.
* NightmareFuelColoringBook: The drawings Daisy and Chad make in school that disturb Chad's teacher. They show a big black square, colored in ''several coats'' of black, surrounded by monsters.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Zampanò is heavily based on Creator/JorgeLuisBorges.
* NothingIsScarier: ''House of Leaves'' is pretty much Exhibit A for this trope.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Johnny may seem like a vulgar druggie, yet he is actually quite an intelligent man. It is heavily implied in the book that he wrote the Pelican Poems during his travels in Europe.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname:
** Will Navidson is called "Navy" (apparently a short for his last name) instead of his first name by everybody, including his wife and his brother (this seems kind of awkward seeing this brother of course shares the same last name).
** "Thumper" is what Johnny calls the woman he has the most consistent crush on throughout the book - after a tattoo she has. Though Johnny hears her real name near the end of the book, he never reveals it to the reader.
* OrderliesAreCreeps: Pelafina becomes convinced that the attendants in the mental hospital are [[PrisonRape raping her]] on a monthly basis as part of an urge to spiritually "break" her.
* PaintingTheMedium:
** The book is printed in four colors, although there are some variations between the different [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Leaves#Colors versions]].
*** Normal text is printed in black, and the word "house" always appears in blue, including in the title, copyright information, etc. [[note]]One "house" (remastered full color edition) escaped blueing, though. [[SchmuckBait Happy searching.]] [[/note]]
*** Mythological references are in red, as are struck-out passages which are, according to Truant, things Zampanò wanted to leave out. They are usually [[NoFourthWall passages that are at least vaguely threatening to the reader]]. "Minotaur" may or may not be struck out, depending on if it's used in one of the aforementioned mythological references.
*** Purple is used only three times, but it's supposedly very important. It's used on the cover for the words "A Novel", "First Edition", and towards the end of the story: "[[spoiler:[...], that I'm remembering now, [=[...]=]]]" Bear in mind that: a) Johnny associates purple with his mother, b) purple is made by combining red and blue, and c) the story he's remembering is about [[spoiler:a mother trying to care for her brain-damaged newborn in the hospital before it dies.]]. Make of that what you will...
*** The color blue is meant to be used to something akin to ChromaKey. The Chroma Key reference means that the house is meant to be an entity that is projected on to. Zampanò, Johnny, and the readers all project as much into the house as Navidson or Holloway.
** On some pages, the lines are typed at angles or go around the edges of geometric shapes, with the rest of the page being white space. Other pages are blank except for footnotes.
*** In the typographically screwiest section of the book, two sections of red text are shaped like a key (introducing the Greek mythos of the Minotaur) and a lock (speaking about finding truth in documentaries.) Either this is the point of the novel or an elaborate red herring.
* PhysicalGod: Sort of: at one point Navidson expresses the view that the house ''is'' God. Whether it fits this trope depends on whether you think the house is sentient or not, or whether you think it matters.
* PostModernism: [[spoiler:Maybe the book, is, in fact, the labyrinth. There certainly isn't a labyrinth anymore after Navidson burns a copy of]] ''House [[spoiler:of Leaves''.]] With perhaps an equal degree of straight and parody of post-modernism. Of course, it's impossible to actually parody post-modernism so the effect just becomes even more recursive which becomes even more the point.
* ThePowerOfLove: [[spoiler:Karen getting the]] house [[spoiler:to let Navidson go.]]
** This is also what helps [[spoiler:Navidson escape the labyrinth when he gets stranded alone at the bottom of the staircase.]]
%%* PropheticNames: Johnny Truant.
* RainbowSpeak: The book itself, which colors various words (such as "house" always appearing in blue).
* RapeAsBackstory: [[spoiler: Karen...possibly.]] Although her [[JerkAss estranged half sister]] told the world that the two of them were raped by their stepfather, she never confirms this. But it's hinted to be the source of [[spoiler: her fear of the dark.]] Navidson's dream about the well echoes Karen's supposed past, hinting that it may be true and she may have told him about it.
* RapeAsDrama:
** [[spoiler: Pelafina]], if you decode [[spoiler: one of her letters.]] That is, if she's not completely nuts and [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation making up or hallucinating the whole thing.]]
** Near the end of the book, [[spoiler: Johnny rapes Kyrie]], though he later states that she simply drove off and the whole thing never happened. It's left ambiguous which version of events is true.
* ReallyGetsAround: In addition to drugs, Johnny and Lude's lives seem to revolve around sex.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: [[http://www.flatrock.org.nz/topics/odds_and_oddities/ultimate_in_unfair.htm The real Delial.]] Commented on, as Johnny is fully aware that Zampanò is describing a real photograph and weaving a fictionalised version of it into the Navidson narrative.
* RoomFullOfCrazy:
** Eventually Truant's studio apartment has all-black walls covered in random scraps of paper with drawings of empty black hallways on them, homemade soundproofing made of ''egg cartons'', aluminum foil covering the windows, and tape measures on every wall so he knows the minute the place starts expanding.
** Zampanò's room also counts. Boxes of paper and scraps, some of which are littered onto the floor, and the strange gouge marks all over the place.
%%* RuleOfScary
* RuleOfSymbolism, references, highlighted in various colors and UsefulNotes/{{Fonts}}, such as to the Greek labyrinth and The Minotaur, to make SURE we don't miss them. Not to mention several more layered references to various mythologies. Oh, and the poem of Yggdrasil at the very end.
* ScienceCannotComprehendPhlebotinum: DoubleSubverted. The stuff from the walls inside the labyrinth in the house actually can be chemically analyzed and consists of normal elements. But the results make no sense in context and only make things more baffling -- [[spoiler:the age of the stuff varies all the way back to older than the solar system.]]
* TheScottishTrope: Zampanò tried to avoid invoking the darkness or the "Minotaur" as much as he could, even crossing it out. At times, the house itself becomes this -- Johnny thinks it's what caused him to spill a bunch of ink on papers that would have scientifically examined the house.
* SeriousBusiness: ''The Navidson Record''. Everyone who's anyone, and most people who aren't, have analyzed, reviewed, or called attention to it. It's also, apparently, an extremely studied film in psychology, and has numerous theories about why Navidson, even though he knows the danger of the house, keeps descending into it. Except that, even within the universe the book purports to be from, there is no evidence the film ever existed, and none of the people Zampanò quotes about it have ever made those statements.
* SexMontage: There's a brief part where Johnny reviews a list of Lude's sexcapades of the past month, many of which involve some rather eyebrow-raising activities (golden showers, wetsuits, threesomes, etc.). However, Johnny immediately deconstructs this trope by imagining a tragic backstory for each girl (abortions, rape, ParentalIncest, prostitution, and so on). It's that kind of book.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Zampanò is heavily implied to have been a veteran of the French retreat from Vietnam that sparked UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar. His wartime diary entries are broken rambles.
* ShoutOut: For example, ''The Navidson Record'' talks about ''[[Creator/JorgeLuisBorges Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote]]'' like he was real.
* SirSwearsALot: Johnny. This even becomes a plot point when [[spoiler:Johnny makes up several journal entries and then mocks the reader for believing them, saying that we should have at least been tipped off by the lacking of foul language in the fake entries.]]
* SnuffFilm: One of the footnotes describes a film that drew just as much attention as ''The Navidson Record'' called ''La Belle Niçoise et Le Beau Chien'', noted for its depiction of the murder of a little girl with "comic reality." The film garnered rave reviews and was universally considered a classic of arthouse cinema... until it was discovered that the filmmaker actually ''killed a young Lithuanian girl to create it''.
* StealthParody: It has been suggested that the novel might be so complex and strange because Danielewski is just messing with us.
* StepfordSmiler: Karen Green, ''especially'' after the first exploration.
* StrawFeminist: Camille Paglia. She's calm and talks about how the house represents "the feminine void" when Karen talks to various celebrities, artists, journalists, critics, and professors about the house, and what it represents, but when Truant tries to verify their stories, out of the two responses he gets, Paglia's is on a postcard that says "Get lost, jerk".
** Of course, given that Paglia [[spoiler:was never actually interviewed about the]] house, she could have responded negatively 'because' her description in the book sounds like a caricature of herself.
* StylisticSuck: As one of his amanuenses complains, Zampanò writes "like a freshman" who should get a C- at best, conveying his scanty insights in a tone of lofty certainty, dragging in basic summaries of well-known subjects, attempting to impress with irrelevant precision and lengthy quotations, and in general b.s.-ing for all he's worth. It's implied this is intentional on his part.
* SurprisinglyHappyEnding: Or at least bittersweet, and only for the Navidson family: [[spoiler:Navidson manages to make it out of the final expedition alive, despite the]] house [[spoiler:spawning bottomless pit after bottomless pit and eventually trapping him in infinite darkness. He gets out, the kids return to normal (mostly), marries Karen, and moves away. The]] house [[spoiler:itself is cordoned off.]]
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial:
** The index of the book feels the need to list several words (exactly one hundred, as it happens) with a "DNE" (as in "Does Not Exist") label instead of a page number. Presumably because these words [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin don't exist.]] [[spoiler: At least a few of them do, however -- "Yank" appears in one of the Whalestoe Institute Letters, and "galleries" can be found on page 119.]] Some words listed with DNE are also symbolic, e.g. defenestration, the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. Some of the DNE entries are flat-out hilarious, cheekily referring to ''concepts'' that most definitely don't appear in the book, or concepts that the book itself has refused to dive into.
** In several pages of the book, there are multiple sidebars that describe what architectural features are NOT found in the labyrinthine sections of the house, resulting in the author taking multiple pages to say "The labyrinth in the house has featureless black walls, floors, and ceilings, and does not resemble any particular architectural style. Picture that. In your dreams."
* TemptingFate: Tom, while alone at the top of the Spiral Staircase, keeps poking fun at "Mr. Monster" and the house in general. When he finally musters the courage to descend the stairs, [[spoiler: the whole thing stretches vertically, while the opening at the top scrunches up into an oval before becoming circular again.]] Tom justifiably shuts up and climbs back out to the top.
* TentativeLight: The climax. In an interesting twist, Navidson [[spoiler:burns a book titled]] ''House [[spoiler:of Leaves'']] to give him light. And in doing so, [[spoiler: he may have saved himself.]] Possibly.
* ThatWasTheLastEntry: The last entry in the notebook which is all that remains of an Eighteenth Century winter expedition which journeyed in the same area where the house would eventually stand: "Ftaires! We haue found ftaires!" ("Ftaires" should be read as "stairs", because the old-fashioned elongated "s" ('ſ') that looks like a modern "f" was mistranscribed by one of the interlocutors.)
* ThemeTune: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptP8kcUWKGM By Kevin Macleod]]
* TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow: As evidenced by Johnny's descent into madness.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Well past the optical nerve.
* TitleDrop: In ''The Navidson Record'' and one of Zampanò's miscellaneous poems. And not just TitleDrop but [[spoiler:Self Drop -- Johnny runs into a band (the real-world book's author's sister's) on his search for the]] house [[spoiler:which has read]] the version of ''House [[spoiler:of Leaves'']] originally released online, including footnotes and edits by Johnny and The Editors.
* TimeAbyss: The Labyrinth: the deeper you go down the older it gets. The oldest sample Navidson tests turns out to be [[spoiler:much older than the solar system itself.]]
%%* TotallyRadical: Johnny Truant.
* TwoferTokenMinority: Reston is black and disabled.
* UltimateEvil: The Minotaur. Or just misunderstood, abandoned and helpless?
* UnconventionalFormatting: Probably the most well-known modern example. See PaintingTheMedium.
* UnreliableNarrator: All of them -- there are at least three, one of whom introduces himself by recounting an outlandish story he told a group of girls. He further admits that he regularly makes up such stories and at one point admits [[spoiler:that one chapter was an outright lie, and then ''laughs at you for believing it''.]]
* UnPerson: The [[spoiler: Minotaur]] does this with horrifying execution and effectiveness.
* TheUnreveal: ''Several''.
** One chapter is dedicated to scientific analysis of various materials recovered from the house. Sounds like it would answer a lot of questions, right? Well, Johnny says he accidentally destroyed most of the manuscript for that chapter. ''[[DoubleSubverted That's]]'' not the Unreveal, though -- right after the missing analysis it's stated there was nothing unusual about the materials. (So basically we've just been spared a lot of pointless chemical semi-{{Techno Babble}} when we don't get the full analysis.) Except for the part that the different samples were from different ages, up to the point that [[spoiler:part of the labyrinth is ''older than the solar system'' and is the same material as asteroids]]. Basically the house is just saying "screw you(r mind)" at any attempts at making sense of it.
** Meanwhile, at various points in the story, there will be footnotes asking the reader to refer to some document numbered Exhibit One through Six -- all six exhibits have no actual content and are just notes by Zampanò to remind himself to write them.
** Karen Green had apparently traveled the world and showed the exploration films to various celebrities, such as Woz, Stephen King, Hunter S. Thompson, among others, and recorded their thoughts of it, and what the house means. Truant decides to contact these celebrities -- all he gets is a letter from a composer who claims he never heard of Karen or the house, and an insulting postcard from a feminist Karen interviewed. And yet, a French-Israeli author had seen proof of the interviews...
** Finally, there's Navidson's Dream #3, which is described as "more troubling and by far most terrifying" and otherwise made to sound interesting. It's entirely missing, but instead we get the genuine reveal of Johnny finally remembering one of his own nightmares.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Zampanò's little documentary... starts to spin out of control, suffice to say.
* TheWorldTree: A poem refers to Yggdrasil, the world-linking tree of Norse mythology. Whether the implied connection to the house and to Ash Tree Lane is literal, figurative, or just the latest in a long list of [[MindScrew mind screws]] is unclear.
* WhosOnFirst: When Navidson, Tom, and Reston go into the house to find Holloway, Tom puts the radio to good use.
--> '''Radio (Navidson)''': If it gets too much for you, go back. We'll be alright.\\
'''Tom''': Fuck yourself, Navy.\\
'''Radio''': What?\\
'''Tom''': Doesn't he go around autographing lightbulbs?\\
'''Radio''': Who?\\
'''Tom''': Watt.\\
'''Radio''': What?\\
'''Tom''': Never mind. Over. Out. Whatever.
* WritersCannotDoMath: Zampanò certainly can't. His acceleration calculation that claims the stairway is deeper that the circumference of the Earth makes the minor error of forgetting terminal velocity. Navidson would ''probably'' have noticed something off about a quarter traveling at 65,500 miles per hour, given it would have hit the ground with the energy of a stick of dynamite. Accounting for terminal velocity would make the depth of the hole even ''greater'' than the circumference of the Earth.
* YourMindMakesItReal: Zampanò posits that the house changes its configuration based on the mindsets of those inside it. He describes how Holloway wanted a big adventure, so the house presents itself as expansive; whereas Navidson wanted to find everyone inside quickly and thus got a much shorter trip.

[[subscript:'''[[superscript:X]]''' Mark Z. Danielewski's ''[[RecursiveReality House]] of Leaves'' (New York: Pantheon Books, 2000), p. 1-709.]]