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House of Windows Paperback – Aug 1 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (Aug. 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159780195X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597801959
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 299 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #636,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa193a168) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1689d50) out of 5 stars Fine first novel Jan. 16 2010
By D. D. Montee - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It's fascinating that Publishers Weekly, so enthusiastic about Langan's short story collection MR GAUNT (which I have not yet read, but soon will), should be so inexplicably harsh in their review of HOUSE OF WINDOWS. Anyway, pay no attention; heed Lucius Shepard's blurb on the dust jacket instead. This is an intriguing, heartfelt first novel, an effective blend of Straub (JULIA), James (TURN OF THE SCREW), Lovecraft (DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE), with so many other subtle nods to masters of the literary ghost story that the connections themselves become greatly entertaining to classic macabre fanatics (like me). But what Langan does exceptionally well is characterization: his protagonist, Veronica, is one of the more involving central characters of the many novels of this type in recent years; and Shepard is right on the mark when he calls the book a "beautifully observed narrative of two marriages". (But the supernatural elements are wonderfully creepy too!) Occasionally the measured pace might trouble readers who are looking for a "what happened next" moment on every page; but what Langan sacrifices in pace, he more than makes up for in character detail and a caring sense of locale.

This is a nuanced and textured novel that deserves much more than the brush-off by Publishers Weekly. I'd give it at least 4 stars, perhaps 4 1/2. Give it a try.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1689da4) out of 5 stars Nearly Great June 10 2014
By Dr. John D - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I've given this four stars because I want you to read it. So much of it is really first class: a strong, original central theme, very well-drawn and surprisingly sympathetic characters and a style that manages that difficult trick: Literate Page-Turner.

It's not perfect. As others have noted, it's too long and it really would have been better for some fairly severe cuts. At, say, 150 pages, this would be a stunning achievement. At 260 it's bloated and tends to drag at times when it really shouldn't. Some scenes that are clearly meant to chill tend to fall a bit flat and the climactic scene, which is a bit out of kilter tone-wise from the rest of the book, is allowed to outstay its welcome.

Two things in particular stand out: the ending, which is sort of lovely and very hopeful (the very end, I mean) and an early scene about whale watching and fathers. Beautifully written, that one.

I think John Langan's short fiction is more successful than this, but for those of us who like intelligent horror fiction this flawed novel is a gem to be relished.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa168b09c) out of 5 stars One of the top horror novels of 2009 Feb. 21 2010
By Paul Tremblay - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The novel centers around Veronica (young, beautiful grad student) and Roger (65 yr old divorcee, well-established and respected Dickens scholar/professor, who's son Ted had joined the Army and is killed in Afghanistan) and their complex relationship/marriage, the relationships they have/had with their parents, and ultimately the relationships they have with themselves as well. Langan isn't interested in heroes, and Roger and Veronica are painfully human, and he has the courage in a first novel to devote a lot of time to developing them, big fat warts and all. It more than pays off when the strange occurrences at the Belvedere house begin to take place. Langan offers no easy answers or explanations to the happenings, which give the proceedings the weight of reality even as reality breaks down for his characters. And within these shifting threads of the narrative, character motivation, and even of the physical house itself, the idea of story (and how we're defined by story) is everywhere.

"Dickens tries to come to terms with his childhood traumas, his adult ambivalences, by writing about them over and over. Hawthorne tries to clarify his Puritan legacy to himself in story after story. Whenever something happens to you-something too much-you create a story to deal with it, to define if not contain it."
HASH(0xa1689f78) out of 5 stars To be read on a dark and stormy night April 1 2014
By John C. Foster - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If ever a book demanded to be read on a dark and stormy night, it is John Langan’s House of Windows, an atmospheric, moody and nuanced tale of a spiraling marriage, obsession, and one of the most unique hauntings I have ever come across. Narrator Veronica Croydon and her much older husband Roger are very real characters, often frustrating in their flawed humanity as the screws tighten and the elements of the supernatural intrude with greater frequency and potency. This is not a “jump scare” novel, rather, it plays off our fear of things seen from the corner of our eye (at least at first) to create an ever building sense of unease…to the point where I was actually compelled to turn on a nightlight, so frequently was I checking a darkened doorway after I finished reading one night. I would not usually use the term “literary horror novel” – but I think the shoe fits in this case. I suspect that fans of Peter Straub or earlier writers such as M.R. James would thoroughly enjoy House of Windows and I highly recommend it.
HASH(0xa168b180) out of 5 stars Reinventing the Old Time Ghost Story Nov. 30 2015
By Grady Hendrix - Published on
Format: Paperback
Harking back to the Victorian ghost story as a tale related to someone on a cold winter's night, HOUSE OF WINDOWS manages to embrace genre trappings - haunted houses, shades of the unquiet dead, blood curses - and inject them with new life. Langan's story of a small college English Literature professor haunted by the ghost of his dead son is surprisingly modern and compulsively readable, and the perfect novel for a chilly autumn night. It feels like a cross between Peter Straub and H.P. Lovecraft, but instead of the Great Old Ones haunting humanity from beyond the stars, the cosmic horror here is the enormity of grief and family wounds that cannot be healed. The tone is conversational, but the subject matter gets progressively bleaker and less forgiving until it ends on a note that's quietly, absolutely chilling, transforming fatherhood itself into the ultimate horror.