Author: Mark. Z Danielewski
Genre: Horror fiction; bizarre romance
To call Mark Z. Danielewski's bewildering novel House of Leaves "one of a kind" would be accurate, but also slightly misleading. Containing two individual storylines that are connected in the loosest sense possible, this sprawling, difficult, and utterly genius horror/fantasy/who-the-fuck-knows book is actually one of two kinds, both of which are insane.
On one hand, you've got award-winning photojournalist Will Navidson, who, along with his family, moves into a bizarre house that's somehow bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, and it's also a supernatural hotbed; on the flipside, you've got Johnny Truant, a debaucherous tattoo shop worker who's reading about Navidson's experiences through a mysterious stack of papers compiled by a blind guy. And Johnny's also losing his mind.
Got all of that? Trust us, it doesn't get any less complicated once you've read House of Leaves, oh, let's say, three times, which we have. Yet, Danielewski's novel, with its multiple pages adorned with sideways text and other pages with hardly two words, won't ever lose its batshit singularity.
Fun Fact: Danielewski has made it clear that he'd prefer readers interpret House of Leaves as more of a romantic story than one of sheer horror, going so far as to call its genre distinction as a "marketing tool."