Monday, February 20, 2012

THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES - Hawthorne - Book Review

Have you ever started a book without really knowing what it's about? My friend, Leslie, picked up this book while traveling through Salem, Massachusetts which triggered for me the recollection of its creepiness.  But I didn't really know what it was about and thought it was high time I read something by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Hawthorne has popped up in a couple of biographies I've read recently: he was part of Louisa May Alcott's circle; and his time in Paris was mentioned by David McCullough.

The story is definitely the creepy, gothic type but there is romance which isn't obvious until the end.  I would like to reread again with the romance in mind since I was concentrating on the spookiness.

 Here's a sample of Hawthorne's brilliant writing: "NEVER had the old house appeared so dismal to poor Hepzibah as when she departed on that wretched errand. There was a strange aspect in it. As she trode along the foot-worn passages, and opened one crazy door after another, and ascended the creaking staircase, she gazed wistfully and fearfully around. It would have been no marvel, to her excited mind, if, behind or beside her, there had been the rustle of dead people's garments, or pale visages awaiting her on the landing-place above."

Description of a brother and sister: "He had a winged nature; she was rather of the vegetable kind, and could hardly be kept long alive, if drawn up by the roots." Paints a picture, no? It's a classic for a reason.


  1. Thanks for the reminder, I remember playing "Authors" and wanting to read all the books described in the deck

  2. Wasn't it great! I was so pleasantly surprised by this book when I read it.

  3. Dear Anonymous:

    Never heard of the game "Authors"--I'll have to look that up since I just might have a shot of winning.


    Yes, it was a pleasant surprise. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. What a great old copy of this book. Your post makes me want to reread this classic right now. It's one of those books I "had" to read in high school and didn't appreciate it. Now would be a good time to reread it. Sounds so good from your description!

  5. This is an excellent blog- congratulations. I came upon it reading your review of PD James' new book.

    Pleasing layout - authentic - thoughtful blog features.

    I may not visit often given our divergent interests - but as a fellow blogger, lemme say 'Keep it up!!!'

    Aging On The Vine (blog)

  6. Sunday: I don't know how I missed this in high school. It would have been better than the other American lit I was forced to read--all those dreary, depressing writers at the time did not make me love reading. It was the English lit that did the trick.

    SPK: You are the nicest. Thanks so much for the compliment and for dropping by.

  7. I grew up near Salem...and no the stories well. It has been a long time since I visited dear old Nathaniel... I think it is time to do so once again.. :)