[PW] Novels with buildings as characters/main protagonists

Bristol Library bplref at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 08:02:24 PDT 2019

I've little to add, since all I can think of have other narrators.
Haunting of Hill House is the one that leapt to mind (the line about the
house not being sane at the end) and the aforementioned short story "There
Will Come Soft Rains."  In SF, there's Anne McCaffrey's Ship Who Sang
series, which as I dimly recall has the brain/consciousness of a person
being put into a starship. Anne Rivers Siddons has another malevolent
dwelling in The House Next Door but again, no narration; Howl's Moving
Castle is a good place but it doesn't narrate. Book Riot has an article but
I don't know that any of those fit the bill, either:

Book Riot <https://bookriot.com/2018/03/06/books-houses-alive/>

Interesting question!


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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