Holy beeswax I ve never come across a writer who can change her or his entire style and do it with such panache This is one creepy book and it s so tricky You go in feeling sane and come out not so sure what sanity really means any This is the story of what one of the book s real life characters calls an ordinary person forced into an extraordinary situation I was already a fan of Longfellow s Can I be a devotee Houdini Heart Harkens Back To The Masters Of Suspenseful Supernatural Horror Poe, Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, But Speaks With A Wholly Fresh Voice Once Caught In Its Pages, There S No Escaping Longfellow S Terrible Tale Weeks Ago, She Was One Of Hollywood S Biggest Writers, Wed To One Of Its Greatest Stars The Doting Mother Of Their Golden Child But Now She S Alone, Tortured By A Horrifying Secret No Woman Could Bear Pursued By Those She Can T Outrun, Anguished By A Guilt She Can T Endure, And Driven Close To Madness, She Flees To The One Place She S Ever Called Home A Small Town In Vermont Where River House Still Stands To A Child, The Splendid Hotel Was Mysterious And Magical And All Its Glamorous Guests Knew Delicious Secrets Cocooned In Its Walls, She Will Write One Last Book Her Atonement Or Her Suicide Note But Life Is Never As You Dream It, And River House Isn T What She D Always Imagined It Was Intense, Literary, And Harrowing, Houdini Heart Is A Tale Of Bone Chilling Horror, Emotional Torment, And Psychological Terror Gripped By River House, Trapped In An Aging Hotel Of Mirrors Only Houdini Could Escape, How Much Can Haunt A Mind Before It Too Is Only A Thing Once Imagined A Haunting And Disturbing Journey Through The Psyche Erika Mailman, Author Of The Witch S Trinity Slyly captivating and insidiously disturbing It s deceptively light conversational style like the best of Stephen King suckered me right in and before I knew it, pages flying by, I was deep into this masterfully written supernatural psychodrama, like M R James by way of Patricia Highsmith A night dark and utterly convincing depiction of a mind unravelling, leavened by genuine wit and compassion and made all thecompelling by a beautifully rendered central character who I couldn t help but be both captivated and appalled by I felt quite nuts myself by the end There are two absolutely gruesome moments which I wont spoiler here where I had to stop I cant remember the last time I had to do that and a gloriously insane WTF moment at the end This is also a book of subtle richness that yields evenon a second,measured, read This book will stay with me for a looooooooong time.
I can t help but let the book speak for itself Horror stories make some kind of sense There s a monster of some sort An infinite variety of monsters In horror stories you either get eaten by the monster or you have to defeat the monster Ghost stories have their own kind of sense Something truly haunts a place Or it haunts a person A demon, the newly dead, a force, usually ill intended But this story makes no sense at all It s very atmospheric, it goes as deep as you want it to, it can be interpreted in as many or as few ways as you wish The only reason I m giving it 4 stars, not 5, is that at times it can get almost too uncaring about making sense Not that is becomes garbled, and it never becomes too weird, but some of the things that happen are little too extreme, too hard to explain away as the main character losing her mind It s The Yellow Wallpaper, but not as subtle as that story, which kind of makes it a little less effective BUT, that s only my interpretation of it, because I want that interpretation, because I like it best I could put a but maybe not after every sentence in that last paragraph and it would still be true It s a remarkable book, I know I ll be thinking about it for quite a while.
Ithan enjoy Longfellow s historical novels, but this one really surprised me I wound up not knowing my own knees from my elbows I had no idea what to expect and that s what I got A story told in first person as if the reader were that person, and you go along, gradually learning why you re in Vermont and why you re in River House and what you ve done But you re never prepared for what you re going to do next You think you could never do these things, that you re not that kind of person, but you re wrong You don t think much of your work you re a writer but you think way too much of the work of others even as you hate their lives And you hate your life But you cling to it even as it becomes a funhouse of mad mirrors I once saw a movie called Angel Heart and as soon as I finished it, I started it all over again just to see how it was made I watched it again to marvel at the symbols and signals placed in every frame telling the story visually I intend reading this a few timesfor exactly the same reason.
I think this is a horror masterpiece That about sums it up.
Longfellow pays homage to and takes influence from Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Steven King, Hitchock, Houdini, and the Wendigo legend, but creates a distintly new and fresh modern psychological terror The novel takes it shots at Hollywood and reveals the trials and tribulations of writers, and the horror that they suffer unto their own minds I also found many similarities to the popular and polarizing work of Danielewski s House of Leaves , although I d guess unintentional Those liking House of Leaves I feel are likely to love this, but this work also succeeds in every area House of Leaves drew complaints In the end, you don t need Danielewski s if you can write like this side notewhile this is not of the young adult genre, it does seem to be a good fit for young teens wishing to read some good horror that doesn t include vampires that sparkle.
Couldn t resist reading an entirely different book by someone who has filled her work with such intense meaning and historical accuracy What a surprise Longfellow seems to be able to write anything This one is nothing like The Secret Magdalene or Flow Down Like Silver Hypatia of Alexandria It sneaky and sly and up to date and strange and pure literature even though it goes down like oil It s about a writer, a second rate writer, whose life has come to such a pass partly through her own doing that she s on the run Which brings her back to the only town in her ambitious life that meant anything to her A small town in Vermont in which stands a old hotel she remembers as magical River House has come down in the world, just as she has, and together they weave themselves into a fantastical knot of other people s talent, first rate talent, or first rate ghosts I loved it I think it s right up there with the very best psychological horror.