[PW] Novels with buildings as characters/main protagonists

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Tue Jul 30 07:49:29 PDT 2019


In Clifford Simak's SF pastorals, houses almost always talk, and are the
voice of pragmatism and common sense, which is not necessarily the Right
Thing in a Simak story.

On Tue, Jul 30, 2019 at 9:53 AM d-lien University of Minnesota <
d-lien at umn.edu> wrote:

> If a short story would be of interest, Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come
> Soft Rains."
>
> Several stories about seemingly sentient house, but again not ones
> where the house narrates:
>
> The thematic index to Everett Bleiler's GUIDE TO SUPERNATURAL FICTION,
> under heading "Houses -- Miscellaneous Aspects -- Active, Living,
> etc." cites:
>
> Emma Dawson, "An Itinerant House."
> Vernon Knowles, "The House That Took Revenge."
> Fritz Leiber, "The Jewels in the Forest"
> David Lindsay, THE WITCH (uncompleted novel)
> H. Russell Wakefield, "The Last to Leave"
> Hugh Walpole, "The Staircase" -- Bleiler notes this short story is
> "told in terms of the house's feelings," so it may qualify (other than
> not being a novel)
>
> ************
> Noted cited in Bleiler, but a couple of other thoughts:
>
> Joe R. Lansdale's shortish juvenile novel SOMETHING LUMBER THIS WAY
> COMES has a sentient house as an antagonist; but it doesn't speak, let
> alone narrate.
>
> Manly Wade Wellman has a few short stories featuring a "gardinel," a
> sort of were-house:
>
> https://multoghost.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/the-gardinel/
>
> Aren't there hints in Shirley Jackson's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE
> that the house as a whole is an insane/malevolent entity (as opposed
> to the house "only" being occupied/haunted by such)?  No speaking role
> for the house, though.
>
> Then there's the MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS tv sketch about "The
> House Hunters"
>
> Dennis Lien / d-lien at umn.edu
>
>
>
> On Mon, Jul 29, 2019 at 7:30 PM Sherman, James <jsherman at lapl.org> wrote:
> >
> > Hello, I have a patron looking for novels  narrated by buildings .  There
> > are titles that have been described as having the building "as the main
> > character", such as *Life: A Users Manual  by Perec*
> > Or  *The Uninvited Guest *by Jones, or a couple of books in Shirley
> > Jackson's oeuvre, and there's also Manderley of *Rebecca*.... there's
> quite
> > a few that have the house as more than a setting and something of a
> > character.
> >
> > Still, none of the examples I or my colleagues could think up or find had
> > the building talking, much less narrating the action.
> >
> > I am eager to find out if we missed something.  Thank you!
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