Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Fall of the House of Usher (57th Book)

I seem to be on a roll these days. I have a lot of time on my hands and have been finishing books quite quickly these days. I wanted something quite fluffy and short, because I intended to read Everything is Illuminated this month, but didn't feel this was a good book to read before bed since I tend to have weird dreams already and that book is kinda crazy. Instead I perused my Kobo and found this short story from Edgar Allen Poe, that is also on the list of 1001 Books to Read before you die. It probably seems like an odd choice given that it is Poe and also weird, but it thankfully didn't infect my dreams.

The book is set in a crumbling mansion on the lonely moors and narrated by an old friend who is sent to visit his former companion who he hasn't seen in years. When he arrives he finds his friend and sister much changed and in ill health. Over the course of the novel his friend comes unhinged and the sister dies. It is an eerie tale, filled with an remote setting, scary story telling, death and a madman. It is a quick but engaging read.

I enjoyed the story, but did not think it Poe's best. For me nothing can replace the eerieness of The Tell Tale Heart. It is interesting to see which novels make lists, and which don't. The Novel 100 list is one person's interpretation of what is best, and even though the 1001 Books list is compiled by more than 100 critics I still occasionally find books that I wish were on there. For instance, it blows my mind that East of Eden isn't on either list, when it is one of my favourites.

At any rate, this was a quick and enjoyable read, and definitely had the haunting and eerie  feel of many of  Poe's stories. I am looking forward to reading The Pit and the Pendulum which is also on the 1001 List.

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