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Usher's Passing

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,442 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
In this most gothic of Robert McCammon's novels, setting is key: the continuing saga of the Usher family (descended from the brother of Roderick and Madeline of Edgar Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher") takes place in the weird and picturesque heart of the North Carolina mountains. The haughty, aristocratic Ushers live in a mansion near Asheville; the poor but crafty mount ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by Pocket Books (first published 1984)
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Charlene I do recommend reading the short story first. Only so you can be more familiar with the Usher family and their history.
It's not required, but I would…more
I do recommend reading the short story first. Only so you can be more familiar with the Usher family and their history.
It's not required, but I would recommend it. (less)
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 27, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
”There were dark blue hollows beneath his eyes, his lips were gray and slack, and the cheap brown suit he wore was blotched with mud and mildew. The front of his white linen shirt and his tattered black ascot was dappled with sherry stains; his frayed cuffs shot out of the coat like a poor schoolboy’s. He radiated the heat of fever, and as he shivered in a sudden chill he lay down his pen and put a trembling hand to his brow; his dark hair was damp with sweat, and tiny beads of moisture in his t ...more
Oct 14, 2014 Gary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Okay, this book made me a fan of this author. I was sort of convinced by his previous material, and thought this book was okay for the first half, but then it took off. I mean it really took off. The ending felt like it moved faster and faster with surprise punch after surprise. Nothing was what I thought it was going to be.
What began as a trip down Fall of the House of Usher memory lane for Poe fans quickly spiraled into something else entirely. Rix, the protagonist, travels home to his family
Jack Tripper

Cover of the 1985 Ballantine mass-market I have. But I prefer the later editions with the Rowena Morrill art:


My Goodreads friends keep informing me that there's something deeply, deeply wrong with me since I'm kind of "meh" on the McCammon I've read (other than Boy's Life), so I figured that if this southern gothic-seeming novel taking place in a mansion in the North Carolina mountains doesn't work for me, nothing of his will.
May 04, 2016 Peter rated it it was amazing
This is a book about a very dysfunctional family and the curses that they lived with. The main focus of the story deals with Rix Usher. Rix is a horror writer, who wants to make it on his own. Rix is a outcast of his family and wants nothing to do with the family fortune. Rix, is called back to Usherland, because his father is dying. You add some creepy monsters and a scary abandon house, which holds many dark secrets and much more. McCammon, pulls everything together, weaving the past and the p ...more
May 04, 2013 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There are so many things that I could comment on with Robert McCammon's books. I think what stands out the most, is the fact that his endings never disappoint--they live up to the expectations set during the course of the entire storyline. Absolutely riveting book that will remain a constant on my "favorites" shelves.
Aug 31, 2011 Cyn rated it it was amazing
Robert R. McCammon has got to be one of the greatest storytellers I've ever had the pleasure of being introduced to. The quality of his work never ceases to amaze me ... the way he can just draw you right in and create such realistic characters and sweeping dramas that don't feel like it's taking as long to get through as the book actually is (especially when you're listening to the audiobook version). It's amazing to me. As a writer, I'm humbled, astounded with admiration, and intimidated by th ...more
Mar 25, 2015 Courtnie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, horror, 2015
Robert R. McCammon uses the word phantasmagoric no less than three times in this book. This is a word that I wasn't readily familiar with, but my husband, who was a horror book nut in the late 70's and all through the 80's, knew this word well. It must have been part of trend of the time.

For those two of you out there that may not recognize this word, let me enlighten you (from Merriam-Webster):

Full Definition of PHANTASMAGORIA

1 : an exhibition of optical effects and illusions

2 a: a constantly
Joel  Werley
Oct 16, 2014 Joel Werley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As one famous review of Sense and Sensibility once read: "This novel is goth as fuck." I might be misremembering that, but THIS novel, by the always reliable Robert McCammon, is indeed gothic as fuck. Inspired by a famous Poe story: check. Huge old mansion in a deep rural area: check. Which sits next to a huge, scary, lodge filled with secret passages, hidden rooms, and dead ends, and more...? Which sits next to a burned out zoo AND a graveyard on the mountainside? Which sit below a comet-blaste ...more
Randolph Carter
Dec 26, 2013 Randolph Carter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
Written as a sort of sequel to The Fall of the House of Usher, Poe's tale, while not being an account of actual events, comes so close that Roderick Usher's brother accuses Poe of copying the true events.

Fast Forward to the 1980s and near Asheville, NC the location of the Usher estate, known simply as The Lodge, where the Ushers have lived for centuries. The location is reminiscent of the Biltmore estate in Asheville although only as the location for the tale.

The horror writer Rix Usher (obvious
Nov 10, 2010 Carlos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
"The Fall of the House of Usher" is arguably one of Poe's most Gothic stories, a tale of hereditary doom that might be tricky for the reader to get into but also quite likely to haunt the imagination thereafter. McCammon takes a risk in crafting a story so obviously inspired by Poe's classic story but he succeeds in crafting a contemporary Gothic tale with strong horror elements.

The first chapter of the novel starts things on a strong note, presenting a fascinatingly sinister picture of one of t
Matthew Bielawa
Jul 06, 2015 Matthew Bielawa rated it it was amazing
Wow…really, that’s all I can say just as I finished my first McCammon novel. Wow!

What a brilliant story teller! There was so much going on, but the author kept it simple yet complex. McCammon writes so effortlessly, weaving a brilliant and intricate tale with several story lines and flashbacks, all with a perfect pitch and level of interest and mystery. (I love the mountain lore and concept of the Pumpkin Man!) Every single one of his characters evolves throughout the novel, each carrying his or
Jan 17, 2016 Joey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Great horror story. Picking up right after "The Fall of the House of Usher", it covers the next hundred years through flashbacks while taking place in present time. This book had witches, warlocks, mountain people, a black panther, a haunted house. rotting corpses, blood, guts, a freakshow agent, howitzers, a magic stick, a maserati, pies, and even a word processor. I almost gave it a 5 star. A Goodread.
11811 (Eleven)
Oct 20, 2012 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was ok
I finally skimmed the last 100 pages or so. It wasn't bad but I wouldn't recommend it when there are so many 4-5 star novels out there. If you're looking for a McCammon read, don't start with this one. Pick up Boy's Life or Swan Song.
Robert Mingee
Oct 28, 2015 Robert Mingee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, 2015-harc
This book has it all - creepy, mysterious creatures, a huge abandoned house, a dysfunctional rich family. It just drips with atmosphere. It primarily follows Rix usher, a horror author descended from Roderick Usher (of Poe fame) who has always shunned the family arms business that has made them rich beyond all reason. But it is really about the whole family, and the surrounding community. The pacing is good, with clues and bits of information introduced slowly to build the mystery and the tensio ...more
Brian Schwartz
Feb 03, 2013 Brian Schwartz rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
McCammon takes Poe’s eerie, atmospheric story, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE O OF USHER and builds upon it, creating a fine homage to one of the pillars of genre fiction. The Poe story is thin on action and contains no backstory on the Ushers or the peculiar malady that afflicts them. McCammon supplies this in USHER'S PASSING and rereading Poe’s classic tale after reading McCammon’s novel improves the experience of reading that 160 year old story.

McCammon builds a plausible, modern story around the Ushe
Sep 24, 2014 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I have loved McCammon's book. I find they read so beautifully. But for some unfathomable reason I had never picked up UP. The tale follows the story of the Usher family, made so famous in Poe's haunting story.

This book is written so well, and manages to flip between different time periods and different protagonists stories in a way that truly enhances a wonderful story. The characters are written so well, fully formed and manage to surprise.

I absolutely loved this book, and can't recommend highl
Gilda Felt
Sep 16, 2015 Gilda Felt rated it it was amazing
The year is 1847, and a man’s search for Edgar Allen Poe sets the stage for the story’s connection to Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher. The man is Hudson Usher, brother to the deceased Roderick of Fall fame. He is looking for the author in order to ascertain how much Poe truly knows about his family. Poe, sick, drunk, near to death, recalls that he may have read something of the family’s misfortunes, but the story mirrors things in his own mind and soul. Hudson leaves, satisfied that his family’ ...more
Philana Walker
Mar 06, 2009 Philana Walker rated it really liked it
Shelves: adolescent-bliss
This was one of my favorite books in middle school. Would like to find a copy to reread. It's an interesting twist on the Poe story, The Fall of the House of Usher, which I also love.
Oct 24, 2015 Laurie rated it it was amazing
In this sequel to Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”, McCammon proposes that not all of the Usher family died at the end of the story, that a brother lived on. And while the brother had the Usher Malady, he also had the power to attract good things to him And the family prospered, beyond all imagination. But the power did not come without strings attached; while materially blessed, the people of the family all have major problems.

Rix Usher is the family black sheep; he escaped the family es
Feb 27, 2014 Kym rated it it was ok
I'm so very disappointed with this novel. What makes it even worse is that I'm a big fan of McCammon's writing generally.

This is one of his earlier books and there's quite a bit of nonsense going on in the writing that you just don't see in his later books. The most annoying problem is the endless repetition. Goddamn I got it the FIRST six times the point was being driven home. Christalmighty with the repetition.

The story itself is a good one with tons of potential and creepy horror deliciousn
Sep 23, 2015 C-shaw rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A library book I got after reading Goodreads reviews of this novel. Don't believe I've ever read anything by Robert McCammon. This is just a good ole sturdy scary novel, not the best I've ever read, but very engrossing, with scary monsters and evil people, many surprises along the way.
Jeff Miller
May 24, 2015 Jeff Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 4.5 stars. Normally I would want to place this book at five stars, but as good as this book is, his novel "Boy's life" is his five star book.

This book take a cue from the Poe story "Fall of the House of Usher", but totally builds on it. The firsts half of the book is chuck full of atmosphere. You are dragged into an ever expanding mystery. Other elements introduced seem like they could not be really part of the plot but move to a cohesive whole.

Throughout I was wondering if I would be
Ever go back and read a book you once love, only to be disappointed as it doesn't measure up to how you remembered it? Well, that is certainly not the case with Usher's Passing by Robert McCammon. First issued in 1985, it is every bit as delightfully creepy as I remembered it to be.

Rix Usher -- the story's main protagonist and the only decent member of the family -- is a writer who has tried to distance himself from his dysfunctional family, but returns home when informed that his father is dyin
Karen Patterson
Aug 29, 2013 Karen Patterson rated it really liked it
McCammon is a master at weaving a tale and getting you completely involved in the characters and their situation and this is no different. It's horror, it's mystery, it's disturbing as it slowly builds from the past to the present situation where everything and everyone comes full circle between a family that has been cursed for quite some time and the mountain folk. A Gothic treat rich in atmosphere and long-held secrets.
Pam Herrmann
Oct 10, 2014 Pam Herrmann rated it really liked it
I thought it started a little slow but once I got into it I couldn't put it down. A good scary thriller is good for the heart and soul. I'm glad that the underdog Rix was able to pair up with New and fight evil to the end. This book definitely kept me guessing.
Sep 10, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
Very good book. I did have a hard time seeing a relationship to Poe's Fall of the House of Usher, but maybe there wasn't really supposed to be one. I did find the character of Greediguts to be somewhat fantastical. The whole of the book felt pretty realistic and then then this cat seemed rather far fetched. The book was creepy in several places and had a good story line that kept me turning the pages.
Feb 26, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: spooks
As a fan of McCammon, I shelved this in my library next to Baal and Mystery Walk. This book offers an early writing style that is easily acknowledged in his evolution with more current works. However, I was still happily lost in its character development and the connection to Poe's family curse. Any book with witch lore, family curses, and predators lurking in the woods is a fave of mine.
Donald Mosier
Jan 27, 2016 Donald Mosier rated it liked it
This story is built upon Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher". It is a modern day (OK, OK, 1980 or so) horror story describing the Usher family as descended from the brother of the characters mentioned in Poe's story. They are a powerful, wealthy family with a strange malady that causes them to have periodic attacks of extreme sensory overload and sensitivity, as well as a truly gruesome death after a very vigorous, healthy life. Of course, there is more to the story. In this book, we learn the ba ...more
Jan 15, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Okay, I admit it - - -when I absolutely can't put a book down, and the ending is halfway decent, I go with a five star rating. This book starts out slowly - - thank you Gary, for your review that warned me not to judge before I hit the second half of the book - - - but once it gets going, it is a barnburner!

Usher's Passing has just enough of the creepy factor without getting too ridiculous (well ok, not TOO ridiculous), and like Stephen King, McCammon has a knack for playing upon all of our own
I loved the Gothic themes in the book; McCammon is a guy who characterizes the spirit of Halloween. The middle of the novel is a great place to be, too bad the ending was weak.
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Robert Rick McCammon was a full-time horror writer for many years. After taking a hiatus for his family, he returned to writing with an interest in historical fiction.

A new contemporary novel, The Five, was published in May 2011 by Subterranean Press.

The fifth book in the Matthew Corbett historical fiction series is The River of Souls. It was published by Subterranean Press in trade, limited, and
More about Robert McCammon...

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“Where you live ain’t important,” he said. “It’s what … lives in you.” 2 likes
“Evil … evil exists … evil exists to destroy love.” 1 likes
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