Posts Tagged ‘unknowing’

House of Leaves

March 31, 2010

Author:  Mark Z. Danielewski

Title: House of Leaves

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2000

Number of Pages: 709

Geographical Setting: Los Angeles/Virginia countryside

Time Period:  Modern day

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:  Late one night, Johnny Truant gets a call from his friend, Lude.  Lude invites Johnny to explore his recently deceased neighbor Zampano’s apartment.  While looking through his things, Johnny finds a trunk filled with notes and manuscript regarding a documentary called The Navidson Record. The film is about a family who has recently moved into a home in the Virginia countryside.  They begin to notice strange changes in the house such as the interior measurements exceeding the exterior measurements and a hallway that should lead into their backyard but doesn’t.  As Johnny begins to piece together Zampano’s notes, he is plagued by nightmares and panic attacks and begins to lose his grip on reality.

Subject Headings:  Horror stories, psychological suspense stories, transformations- personal, paranormal phenomena, documentary films, supernatural

Appeal:  compelling, engrossing, detailed, intriguing, complex, layered, chilling, dangerous, dark, investigative, multiple plot lines, psychological, claustrophobic, unknowing, unreliable narrator

3 terms that best describe this book:  Complex, haunting, mysterious

Similar Works/Authors:


The Black Hope Horror: the True Story of a Haunting by Ben Williams – When the Williams family moves into a house in a quiet Texas suburb, they are terrified to learn that their home was built on an old graveyard.  They begin to encounter strange occurrences, infestations of insects, and even death.

The Amityville Horror Conspiracy by Stephen Kaplan- Kaplan investigates the bizarre happenings at the Amityville house where a family fled for their lives after experiencing terrifying events.  Were these events real or is it all part of a hoax?

The Dark Sacrament: True Stories of Modern Day Demon Possession and Exorcism by David M. Kiely and Christina McKenna- The authors present ten true stories involving exorcism, haunted houses, and demon possession.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam – Nick Mason must team up with a disturbed man in order to rescue his sister from a haunted house.  The two soon learn that the house has a dark and chilling past.

An American Haunting by Scott A. Johnson – Gabriel Rosewood decides to move his family into an old house in Texas.  When peculiar things begin to happen, he worries that their lives are in danger.

Turn of the Screw by Henry James- When a governess is hired to care for two orphans, she is soon haunted by the ghosts of evil servants who once inhabited the house.

Name:  Shannon Duffy

The Turn of the Screw

November 4, 2009

Author:  Henry James

Title:  The Turn of the Screw

Genre:  Horror

Publication Date:  1898

Number of Pages:  87

Geographical Setting:  Essex

Time Period:  Contemporary

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  This story is told by an unknown narrator, which only adds to the eeriness of the tale.  It tells the story of a governess who has undertaken the task of caring for a young boy and girl (as their parents have passed away) on a large estate while their uncle is away.  The boy, Miles, has been expelled from school for reasons that are never disclosed to the reader.  That lack of certainty is carried out throughout the tale and it is that aspect that makes this such a chilling read.  The housekeeper, Mrs. Grose, tells the governess all she needs to know about caring for the children.  She does not, however, make her aware of Miss Jessel and her lover, Peter Quint, whom the governess sees around the grounds.  The governess begins to suspect that they are ghosts, and she learns that they died under suspicious circumstances.  She also suspects that the children are aware of the ghosts as well, though they refuse to admit it.

Subject Headings:  Essex; London; Ghosts; Orphans; Secrets

Appeal:  Complex, unknowing, densely written, stately, closely observed, family-centered, linear, detailed setting, rural, chilling, claustrophobic, dark, foreboding, psychological, austere, stark

3 terms that best describe this book:  Unknowing, Muted, Dark

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

“Henry James:  A Life” by Leon Edel.  A biography depicting the life of the writer is always a great supplement to analyzing a work.

“Essex:  The Buildings of England” by James Bettley.  This modernized guide will teach all about the gothic architecture of the setting of James’ novel.

“Our Haunted Life:  True Life Ghost Encounters” by Jeff Belanger.  Whether or not the reader believes in ghosts and the afterlife, tales of haunting are always unsettling.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson.  Another tale full of subtle, psychological twists, the ghosts and foreboding estate are similar to “Turn of the Screw”.

“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte.  This dark tale of passionate forbidden love with tragedy in the ending is like that of the love between Miss Jessel and Peter Quint.

“Grave’s End” by Elaine Mercado.  This tale of haunting makes the stretch of what might happen if a ghost or spirit took to violent actions.

Name:  Melissa