[PW] Novels with buildings as characters/main protagonists

Sherman, James jsherman at lapl.org
Tue Jul 30 13:00:01 PDT 2019


This is a great list, thank you!

On Tue, Jul 30, 2019 at 7:49 AM John Cowan <cowan at ccil.org> wrote:

> 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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James Sherman, Librarian II
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