The House of the Seven Gables
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The House of the Seven Gables

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  18,939 ratings  ·  1,092 reviews
Enduring Literature Illuminated By Practical Scholarship The story of the Pyncheon family, residents of an evil house cursed by the victim of their ancestor's witch hunt and haunted by the ghosts of many generations. This Enriched Classic Edition Includes: A concise introduction that gives the reader important background informationA chronology of the author's life and wor...more
Paperback, 404 pages
Published June 19th 2007 by Pocket Books (first published 1851)
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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutBleak House by Charles DickensThe House at Pooh Corner by A.A. MilneThe Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan PoeThe Cider House Rules by John Irving
Our house in the middle of our street
9th out of 122 books — 24 voters
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Community Reviews

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Kim
OHMYFREAKIN'GAWD.


Why the hell did I pick this up again? Life's too short, you say? You have 200+ other books on your 'to read' shelf and this was sucking your will to read? Give it up! You're right... all of it... and my answer is... my excuse being... because I'm freakin' stubborn. Its Hawthorne . I mean how much more New Englandy can you get? I couldn't just--- give up... I'd be betraying my countryman...


Whatever.


For a few years, in my younger days, I worked down the street from the House o...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
A clueless group here in goodreads.com made this this its book of the month read under the "Horror" genre when there is no horror in it. The author called it, instead, a "Romance" but there is no romance in it, either, except a brief declaration of love for each other of two protagonists towards the end with all its unmistakable phoniness ("How can you love a simple girl like me?" Duh, all men profess to love simple girls!).

This is actually a sex book written under the atmosphere of sexual repre...more
Alan Fay
Dec 04, 2008 Alan Fay rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
This is the worst book ever written in the English language that is somehow celebrated against far superior novels from the same era, somehow earning him enough respect to have his crusty face emblazoned onto the Library of Congress.

If the story were to take place in modern day Atlanta, it would be about some inbred, old money steel magnolia losing her shit up in Buckhead, and dragging her family down with her while she squanders what little remains of their inheritance on palm readers and telem...more
Werner
Aug 02, 2013 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of 19th-century classics
Shelves: classics, books-i-own
During the Salem witch hysteria of 1692, when real-life accused witch Sarah Good was about to hanged, she pointed at one of the witch hunters, Rev. Nathaniel Noyes, who was looking on approvingly, and shouted, "I'm no more a witch than you are, and if you murder me, God will give you blood to drink!" (an allusion to Revelation 16:6). Years later, Noyes suffered a throat aneurism, and did die literally drinking his own blood --a fact that wasn't lost on the keepers of New England's traditions.

Nat...more
Henry Avila
The Pyncheon family had a long and useful reign.The founder Col.Pyncheon, was a stout Puritan and soldier.Who helped wipe out the evil threat of the witches. In the Salem trials of 1692.For his reward, he happened to take over the property of old Matthew Maule. A good place for the Colonel's new mansion. For his noble efforts .The Wizard Maule .Met his just end, at Gallows Hill. The House of the Seven Gables. Was one of the best edifices in colonial Massachusetts. But more than 150 years later,...more
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 31, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
An old US colloquial house with seven gables that seem to be mocking heaven. Seven main characters. The old ugly Hepzibah Pyncheon running a candy shop to earn a living for herself and her war-torn brother Clifford Pyncheon. Her face is ugly because she has to squint to see. She needs to wear eye-glasses but she is so poor that she cannot afford to have one. So customers are few except the young adorable boy Ned Higgins who loves gingerbread cookies that he comes back again and again to the cand...more
Joe
I'm so glad you're dead, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

So this is a classic horror novel in which nothing at all happens for a few hundred pages except the description of some house, an old hag selling oatmeal, and some guy who may or may not have hypnotized the other chick who's boarding there. There might be something scary but I was too busy falling asleep to notice. If Hawthorne were alive, he'd be a zombie, which I'd totally be okay with because then he could get shot in the head by zombie experts. T...more
Shawn
Jul 30, 2007 Shawn rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: few
This book dares you to read it. I hadn't thought about putting it up here, because, in fact, I have never finished it. I have the distinction of having had the book assigned to me no less than three times in various college courses, and never once read the whole thing.

The problem is I do not care about a single character in this novel. A rich family is cursed because they screwed over a poor family? Great. Where's the conflict? I hate rich people, and didn't want to see them redeemed.

The Daguer...more
Jr Bacdayan
… for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation… Exodus 20:5

It has always been a wonder for me why punishment should be as such. Why is this idea of making descendants suffer for their forefather’s mistakes so recurring in literature? Including this passage from the bible, there are countless other works which involve this sad practice; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables is one of the more renowned ca...more
Jason Pettus
(My full review of this book is much larger than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read 100 supposed "classics" for the first time, then write reports on whether or not I think they deserve the label

Book #2: House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The story in a nutshell:
Like any good horror story, the spooky House of the Seven Gables actually tells two stories at onc...more
Bruce
Hawthorne labels his work a Romance rather than a novel, thus giving himself permission to mix an element of the “Marvellous” into the narrative. The work itself begins with sprinkled oddities - a hint of witchcraft and necromancy, a mysterious and possibly supernatural death, the presence of a perpetual family curse, a puzzling mirror rumored to show unusual characteristics, a house itself that is personified. Hawthorne’s language is exquisite, very early 18th century-ish, almost courtly, certa...more
Gloria
Curses spat out by an accused and condemned-to-death wizard.

Patriarchal greed which flows through the veins of a family tree.

Younger generations striving to break free from the curse, seemingly in vain as they labor to barely live beneath the gloomy seven gables of the ancestral manse.


I don't know if it's because Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was required reading in junior high ... but I never have (until recently) been motivated to pick up his stories-- even though I really liked The Scarlet L...more
William
This narrative, published in 1850, starts with a preface by Hawthone explaining his concept of the Romance, which is to be distinguished from the Novel because it provides the writer with greater latitude to takes risks. The Novel is somehow more straightforward, more conservative, less flexible as a vehicle for experimentation.

The first chapter gives us the backstory in a kind of lump sum. Most contemporary novelists probably write such a backstory but often cut it, since, lacking action and ch...more
Christie
When I finished this story, I found it hard to care about it. It is my least favorite of Hawthorne's books. The characters were mostly unlikable, the plodding plot fattened up with many pages of useless description that added nothing. It was a relief to be done with it, an achievement that can only be attributed to my stubborn refusal to stop reading once engaged, no matter how annoying the material. :o) It does feel irreverent to be trashing Nathaniel Hawthorne. But time would be better spent r...more
Laura
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Not so good as expected.

5* The Scarlet Letter
4* Rappaccini's Daughter
3* Wakefield ; Ethan Brand
3* Wakefield - Il velo nero del pastore
3* The Ambitious Guest
3* The Blithedale Romance
3* The House of the Seven Gables
TBR The Marble Faun
TBR Fanshawe
Mikela
Synopsis:"Nathaniel Hawthorne's gripping psychological drama concerns the Pyncheon family, a dynasty founded on pious theft, who live for generations under a dead man's curse until their house is finally exorcised by love."

Initially I found myself very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book set in 19th century Puritan New England. There was an eerie quality, a quiet subtle sense of suspense that drew me to find answers without a heart pounding urgency to solve the mysteries behind...more
Clif Hostetler
The House of the Seven Gables begins with a preface by the author that identifies the work as a romance, not a novel. That may be the author's preference, but I think most romance fans will be disappointed if they read this book. The book is a classic by a famous American author, so it deserves to be read. Once you finish the book and look over the complete plot, you can see how romantic love has healed a 200-year family curse. Therefore, in that regard it is a romance. However, the experience o...more
Keely
Hawthorne is the equivalent of nudging someone and winking without actually thinking of anything interesting, risque, beautiful, or even useful. It is sad that a man with such a voluminous writing ability was seemingly devoid of any notion of what to do with it.
Janet
I adore this book. I recall reading it for the first time in my twenties, picking it up at random and being amazed how lively and picturesque the writing was, so different from the dreary Scarlet Letter I remembered from high school. The decline of the Pyncheon family after the curse of old man Maule, a fiercely independent man who’d staked a claim on land and a certain well which the progenitor of the Pyncheon clan, the old Puritan, desired to have for his own. Eventually he'd had Maule hung fo...more
Gkc3of9


Just a quick comment about Hawthorne's claim this is a "romance". Many posts here misunderstand the author's definition of the word romance, thinking he means the kind of book found in the romance section of the modern bookstore that includes Nora Roberts and the like. This is NOT the kind of romance the author is claiming for this novel. More closely akin to what Hawthorne means for the modern reader would be "fantasy", that is, not a story of realism, but arising from a creative liberty which...more
Anga
Now, before I go into my review, I need warn you that I read this book in fifth grade by my own free will. Think about that. I had nowhere near the maturity to understand the nuances and themes of the book. Not when Black Beauty was more my speed at the time.

I HATED this book. After a intriguing introduction that made me decide to buy the book it quickly sunk into descriptions that I could have cared less for. The one chapter devoted to the Judge's "missed appointments" made me want to throw th...more
Stuart
Another "great American novel" that really is one of the Great American Novels, this book is a surprisingly quick read, by turns charming and creepy, with a small but excellently drawn cast of characters ranging from the comically tragic but dignified Hepzibah, to the gracefully mysterious Holgrave. An unexpected plot twist at the beginning of the book's final third leads to two chapters of excellent writing, one detailing Clifford and Hepzibah's flight on a train and the almost psychotic breakd...more
Q
Having read Scarlet Letter in Jr High -I was surprised how much I enjoyed House of the Seven Gables. He called it a romance vs a novel; for a romance has a moral. Here the moral was the actions of past generations effect the current generation.

This book is a great historical novel - of changing times in New England. The Puritanical ways are changing to new thought. the impact of the Salem Witch trials - having cast a web of strife for many - is now coming back to center. Greed and arrogance of...more
Janette
I can see why English teachers like this book. The vocabulary alone makes it worth reading. Plus it's full of all that theme and symbolism that English teachers love to talk about.

Unfortunately, Nathaniel Hawthorne liked to talk about theme and symbolism too, which makes this book feel like one long treatise on theme and symbolism. I mean, seriously, Nathaniel Hawthorne goes on and on and on and then on some more about the stuff. He doesn't just tell you once that it is a degradation that Hepzib...more
Vanessa Baish
How can you not love a ghost story? Even better, a ghost story that unravels to reveal how superstition can obscure truth (in this case, science.) I have read Hawthorne before and should not have been suprised, but I was, regardless, surprised by Hawthorne's sharp criticism of superstition. Hawthorne's language (quaint) belies the modernity of his resolution.

He also has an obvious fondness for quirky characters, which is sweet.

You do have to push youy way past a certain point in reading this, bu...more
John
Hawthorne wrote this at the height of his success, when he apparently felt that he was a good enough writer to get away with prattling on and on about nothing without trying the reader's patience, or at least without making them quit the book somewhere in the middle. Even he, in the book itself, several times alludes to his own verbosity and general misuse of readers' time. I usually adore Hawthorne, but with this book he takes what could have been a great novella and turn it into a cumbersome,...more
Kimberly
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 s...more
Isaac
I've long been a fan of Moby Dick, so I assumed that I'd be a fan of other nineteenth century prose from New England with its penchant for excessive description and verbosity. Well, not so much. Maybe I've just got a soft spot in my heart for Melville.

I remembered enjoying The Scarlet Letter back in school, but The House of the Seven Gables was . . . uninspiring. Another reviewer described the book as a kind of lame Puritan ghost story. A remarkably apt description, though I have more respect fo...more
Denise
Nothing at all like what I was expecting. Why was I led to believe this was Gothic horror? It's not. Perhaps pinning down what it is, is the problem. Gothic? You do get that feeling of morbid attractiveness, cheerless gloom. The characters are dusty and melancholy, apart from the fresh faced Phoebe. I saw the story as a mystery, as there is an element of suspense running through it, but apparently the author did not. I waited to find out what had gone on but I'm not sure you are let off the hook...more
John David
This review contains spoilers.

I have a vague memory of reading “The Scarlet Letter” sometime in middle school, and coming away feeling like you would expect after you’d read a novel about Puritan repression (that’s all I thought it was about at the time). “The House of the Seven Gables” was like finding a Hawthorne I’d never known before – one of ghosts, the eternal return of historical memory, and high Gothic romance. This time, it reminded me more of Horace Walpole and Matthew Lewis than it di...more
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history.

Shortly after graduating from Bowdoin College, Hathorne changed his name to Hawthorne. Hawthorne anonymously published his first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, in 1828. In 1837, he published Twice-Told T...more
More about Nathaniel Hawthorne...
The Scarlet Letter Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories Young Goodman Brown The Minister's Black Veil Rappaccini's Daughter

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“Shall we never never get rid of this Past? ... It lies upon the Present like a giant's dead body.” 30 likes
“In this republican country, amid the fluctuating waves of our social life, somebody is always at the drowning-point.” 9 likes
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