In the House in the Dark of the Woods

In the House in the Dark of the Woods

"Once upon a time there was and there wasn't a woman who went to the woods."In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she's been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then...

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Title:In the House in the Dark of the Woods
Author:Laird Hunt
Rating:
Edition Language:English

In the House in the Dark of the Woods Reviews

  • Janday

    I'm developing a bit of a habit of reading books about witches and primeval woodland magic. In the vein of traditional, heavily symbolic folk tales about the sonorant evil that lives in the deep forest, this story is about the unstoppable transformations that happen to women when they leave their hearths. Here be magic birds, killer swarms, tepid wells, glamor magic, hags, and the blackest magic of all: memory.

    While there isn't so much a "story" in these pages, there is rather an unquantifiable

    I'm developing a bit of a habit of reading books about witches and primeval woodland magic. In the vein of traditional, heavily symbolic folk tales about the sonorant evil that lives in the deep forest, this story is about the unstoppable transformations that happen to women when they leave their hearths. Here be magic birds, killer swarms, tepid wells, glamor magic, hags, and the blackest magic of all: memory.

    While there isn't so much a "story" in these pages, there is rather an unquantifiable, foreboding atmosphere that you could cut with a knife. But I warn you, it's going to bleed. If you loved The Good People or A Secret History of Witches, you'll devour this book like the ravenous crone you are.

  • BELLETRIST

    We read this one in two sittings. It's quite unlike many things we've read before. It is definitely not for the faint of heart or stomach. It is also somehow remnant of witch tales we grew up with. That's what we really loved about it. It's spooky, but also curious.

  • Lark Benobi

    Using traditional fairy tale elements, Hunt tells a story that starts with fairy-tale calm and rapidly descends into madness and horror.

    The novel strongly recalls the work of the great German Romantics, in a way I never would have guessed a modern author could evoke. One of my favorite reads of all time is

    by German Romantic author Ludwig Tieck. Hunt's short novel exploits channels of feeling that are probably instinctive in us humans, such a fear dark places and of unknown e

    Using traditional fairy tale elements, Hunt tells a story that starts with fairy-tale calm and rapidly descends into madness and horror.

    The novel strongly recalls the work of the great German Romantics, in a way I never would have guessed a modern author could evoke. One of my favorite reads of all time is

    by German Romantic author Ludwig Tieck. Hunt's short novel exploits channels of feeling that are probably instinctive in us humans, such a fear dark places and of unknown enemies--feelings that are plumbed in fairy tales all over the world. But in this novel there is no happy ending. The irrational wins. What we think of as reality is revealed to be an illusion, and what is really-real is a world filled with irrational rules, rules that have nothing to do with human morals or human sympathy, and where terror is lurking just beneath the veil of calm that we fool ourselves into believing, just so we can continue living.

    The flat calm tone of the narrator makes the outcome all the more terrifying. She continues to believe in the goodwill of all those she meets, and to believe in her own innocence. in the end she is implicated deeply in her own fate, in a way that again evokes the great German Romantics, who also wrote stories in which everyone gets what is coming to them.

    There is so much going on here. Let the story lead you. It's an eerie and unexpected journey all the way.

  • Maciek

    What drove me to read this book was the blurb from Brian Evenson, an author I admire, who described it as "wonderful, luminous and sly", and called it "a stunning contemporary fairy tale". And it's true - from the very first sentence we are transported into world that seems familiar at first, but soon begins to unveil itself in new, strange and disturbing ways.

    What drove me to read this book was the blurb from Brian Evenson, an author I admire, who described it as "wonderful, luminous and sly", and called it "a stunning contemporary fairy tale". And it's true - from the very first sentence we are transported into world that seems familiar at first, but soon begins to unveil itself in new, strange and disturbing ways.

    Have you seen the 2015 film

    ? Dubbed as

    , it was the first thing that came to my mind while reading this book. The setting of the novel is never described in any great detail, but I could easily see it being set in the New England forests as shown in the film, and could imagine the heroine living a life which was not very different from that of its female protagonist. The novel is very different from the film, but if are interested in colonial America and its folklore, then you will love this book.

    Many authors have written multiple novels featuring this subject before, but I'd wager that few of them did that with grace of Laird Hunt. His biggest accomplishment is his ability to use wonderful, lyrical language and create absolutely stunning, vivid and unsettling imagery. You do not as much read this book as you

    it. From the beginning almost to the very end, every single page is filled with dark foreboding and absolutely oozes with atmosphere. I can't remember the last time I read a book which I enjoyed reading just for its lyricism and its ability to masterfully convey its setting and make me believe in it and feel as if I was almost there. You can hear the crunching leaves the heroine walks on, feel the unending forest closing in around her and feel the unease creeping up your own back.

    Most negative reviews of the bookfocus on the novel's lack of focus and vagueness, and these complaints are not without merit. The novel is meandering and confusing, and usually I would agree with such criticism, but this time I felt that it actually added to the experience of reading it. The reader is never at ease and nothing is ever clear, just as no path is certain when we are lost in the woods. Most readers who will find it in themselves to actually read and finish this book will find many interesting themes to think about - how it alludes to stories and fairy tales from the past (most notably Hansel and Gretel, although it is not a retelling), how it presents the role and image of women in early colonial society, and most of all how it touches upon the nature of storytelling itself. Is it a powerful force, or something to be feared?

    I don't want to spoil anything for anyone wanting to read this book, and to anyone wondering about doing so - do it! It is one of my most pleasant discoveries of 2018 and I will definitely be reading other novels by this author.

  • Hanna

    Oh the beautiful cover, the ever-present feeling of dread, and magic derived from nature. This book was an adventure into the world of the women in the Dark of the woods. How did they get here? Why are they here? Or better yet, what have they done to get here? A story of redemption, or maybe punishment, or maybe even the power of reclamation. Witchcraft, wolves, spooky forests, and boats made of flesh & bone, this book has it all. For a dark tale that is absolutely impossible to summarize an

    Oh the beautiful cover, the ever-present feeling of dread, and magic derived from nature. This book was an adventure into the world of the women in the Dark of the woods. How did they get here? Why are they here? Or better yet, what have they done to get here? A story of redemption, or maybe punishment, or maybe even the power of reclamation. Witchcraft, wolves, spooky forests, and boats made of flesh & bone, this book has it all. For a dark tale that is absolutely impossible to summarize and leaves a lot for you to interpret, pick up this book!

  • Alisa H. (worldswithinpages)

    Felt a bit disorganized and rambling which made it hard to follow. The idea behind the story was promising, but the execution was a bit lackluster.

    Thank you to Little Brown for the free copy and a chance to review!

  • Carol

    difficult to find a focal point or become interested in a character or direction of plot. Almost called it quits a couple of times. Gave it my all though re-reading pages and chapters bc of enticing book summary depicting witchcraft in colonial New England, but a no-go and a long 224 pages

    Honestly, no clue I was even in colonial America.

  • Jessica Sullivan

    Update: I want to clarify that this book is definitely objectively better than 1 Star. But I still hold that my experience of reading it was so disappointing that I’m sticking to this low rating.

    ***

    I have no idea what I just read. Obscure fiction works for me sometimes, but this was just too much. I couldn’t wait for it to end and I’m so glad to be done with it that I can’t even be bothered to write a full review. The writing itself is good, but I hated the experience of reading this so much.

  • Diane S ☔

    Will. Leave this unrated as I will not finish after 50%. Have no idea what is going on and find I don't care enough to continue. For a while I was intrigued by the strangeness, but then it just became tiresome.

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