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The Rats in the Walls

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  2,422 ratings  ·  98 reviews
"The Rats in the Walls" is a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. Written in August–September 1923, it was first published in Weird Tales, March 1924.

The story is narrated by the scion of the Delapore family, who has moved from Massachusetts to his ancestral estate in England, known as Exham Priory. On several occasions, the protagonist and his cats hear the sounds of rats scurr
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Paperback, 95 pages
Published (first published 1924)
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Gary
I was trying to remember if I had read any H. P. Lovecraft in college...I most likely did....but I can't remember one thing I read in college. I remember Poe, most certainly, but Lovecraft doesn't stand out. I was looking at a list of great stories about haunted houses,and out of the 7 I had already read 5. This one, which on the list, I had not,and I am certain I'd not read this particular one before. I loved being a virgin on this one....I found myself wide eyed through out, because Lovecraft ...more
Yani
Es un libro tétrico para terminar el año, pero no me arrepiento de la elección. Se aprende bastante con Lovecraft (sus libros deberían venir con una indicación: "leer con una enciclopedia a mano") y su forma retorcida de asustar a la gente, de poner a un ser humano en una situación que se escapa de su comprensión y que luego posee su mente por completo.

En Las ratas en las paredes (1924) el narrador se presenta como el habitante de Exham Priory, una finca familiar muy antigua y con una histori
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Lou
The skill of Lovecraft's writing is monumental he writes with shear skill and atmosphere. This story is one of a terror of rats be sure to buy a cat when you occupy and new property as it may be a priceless weapon. The rats are a viscous, gelatinous, ravenous army that feast on the dead and the living.

"the walls were alive with nauseous sound the veminous slithering of ravenous, gigantic rats."

"My searchlight expired, but still I ran. I heard voices, and yowls, and echoes, but above all there
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Plague Jack
Huh.

I'm generally not a fan of Lovecraft.

I feel like the man should have been born in the year 1970 and gotten a job writing lore for video games instead of writing short stories. The worlds he created are phenomenal, but they're also underused and hidden behind dense and impractical prose.

As a writer, Lovecraft is incredibly gaudy and his stories have no emphasis on character. Instead Lovecraft focuses on his word obsession and horror concepts. This is not so much a criticism, as it is a rea
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Dahlia
"I had now been shown the thing which certain forces had wished to show me."


Superb work.
Karla Torres
Ya he mencionado antes que no me gusta leer recopilaciones de cuentos o historias o lo que sea. Hay muchas razones, pero la principal es que no puedo evaluar el libro como tal, ya que son distintas historias, y unas pueden haberme gustado o no. En fin. Con este libro no ocurrió eso, amigos :D
El libro cuenta con 8 historias. Todas me gustaron, unas más que otras, claro está, pero las ocho historias me tenían atrapada. Y en cada una de ellas había algo que realmente no esperaba.
Mis favoritas fue
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Lisa Dee
One of Lovecraft's finest short stories. Poor Delapore should have stayed in America and not returned to his ancestral home in Britain. He came from an "accursed line" and when he discovers exactly how cursed, it is too late. This is a very dark tale and Lovecraft weaves a terrifying story with ornate but beautiful language and imagery.
Geekritique
Find this and many other reviews on Geekritique!

Since I've started writing fiction again, which you can find here, I've used the Writing Excuses podcast to give me prompts which I, in turn, adapt to short story works in my fantasy world Atelinor. The latest episode highlighted Lovecraftian horror, a genre who's waters I have never tested. Before I try my hand on the given story prompt, I wanted to check out some of H.P. Lovecraft's work for myself. A friend inclined me towards starting with The
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Kat
This is one of Lovecraft's masterpieces of terror that doesn't directly mention his well-known elder gods directly, but hints at elder evil nonetheless. It's one of my favorite stories, truly a creepfest.

Plot: The last man in his family line decides to go back to his family's ancestral home to renovate and preserve his legacy, only to find there's more history to the house than he really wants to know.
Stuart Slingsby
This is Lovecraft at his best here, in top form. A classic non-mythos story in the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe, but stylistically superior and far more understanding of the depth and breadth of the unknown, that black chasm that lays forever just beyond the supposedly firm ground upon which we've based our world

And yes, he does have a cat called Nigger-Man.

The story is about an unnamed person that inherits a gothic castle that has rats in the walls and they start causing mayhem. This is a good
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Fiona Moyler
For a guy who is often described as a writer of "atheist" horror, Lovecraft seems to have a very visceral horror of paganism. Or perhaps he just assumes his (civilized, christian) readers will have. You do have to put yourself back in the time and place these stories were written in quite a bit for various reasons. Lovecraft thinks it obvious that everything "primitive" is negative and horrific, whereas I, writing in the early 21st century have a more typical-for-my-time respectful (or possibly ...more
Victor Hugo Kebbe
The Rats in the Walls is a classic tale by Lovecraft, evoking several gothic elements to create the atmosphere of Horror. While most of the famous tales of Lovecraft is located in the US (Providence), this one is in England, in an old castle built on Celtic, Roman and Saxon remains. It's interesting to see how Lovecraft uses all the clichés in his favor, bringing something totally new.
Ken
A wealthy American reconstructs his ancestral home in Britain and explores his family's rumored dark history.

Spectral hoards of rats, an ageless Stygian mystery and madness.....a Lovecraft classic.


4 STARS
Jackie
Apr 07, 2015 Jackie added it
My other favorite H.P. Lovecraft book. I was strung along with the unexpecting main character and just as shocked as he was about his fate.
Colleen
This is a deliciously creepy story, especially if you dislike rodents. Nicely constructed, very layered. Although strewn with subplots, they all link directly back to the main story. Many authors cannot manage to do this, even in hundreds of pages. Lovecraft does it nicely in a short story.

For the politically correct, the favored cat in this story has a naughty word for a name. Lovecraft lived in a time when such terminology was not only acceptable, but expected. There are no nasty or racist re
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Antony
I think I missed something. Something obvious? I see the reviews, and they're raving about this story. The description was also highly touting this one. So I waited, and read in anticipation...I think I missed it again.
Now, what's positive about this one? It has that fine line I continue to write about: that fine line between verbose parody and powerful nuance. it's well controlled, and a masterful prose. But it's dull, and the medium is not engaging. I just couldn't get into this one. I think
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Heather
The short story "The Rats in the Walls" was recommended on the Horror podcast of Writing Excuses a while back. Not a big fan. The first five pages were boring and mostly pointless to the rest of the story. The ending felt inevitable rather than surprising and horrifying. Maybe I'm just the wrong audience.
Dudu Serra
It was an interesting story.
The pacing was very good and the plot development was built with mastery.

This is my second story by H.P. Lovecraft (actually the third, but i'm kind of rereading) and i'm already used to his style of writing and his love for the word "sanity".

Jules Verne would be proud and a little jealous.*

The end was definitely the best part.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

* I was referring to the moment that they go underground. Something like Journey to the Center of the Earth.
J. Favazza
My favorite Lovecraft story. He is the master of building terror in only a few pages and keeping there until the conclusion. After getting to the main part of the story, it had me stop reading to listen to noises around me.
And it has the best line ever in a horror tale:
"Ultimate horror often paralysis memory in a merciful way."
My feeling is that if he did not write horror and fantasy, if he wrote more mainstream stories, his writing style would have made him one of the important writer of the ea
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Sean Kottke
My second encounter with the writings of Lovecraft, and as transcendent as the first. The roots in Poe are clearly visible, but Lovecraft takes the horror of The Tell-Tale Heart from the merely psychological to the cosmic. It doesn't help that having once discovered field mice and river rats in the walls of homes in which I've lived in the past, rodents figure more prominently in my nightmares than any other beast. This takes that fear to another plane entirely. Thanks, Mr. Lovecraft!
Liam
A bit of a spoiler, but this story reminds me mostly of "the Yellow Wallpaper," especially in their respective endings. The biggest difference is that while I found the Yellow Wallpaper unpleasant to even read, this story came across as unsettling in its content alone. Of course, as I haven't read the Yellow Wallpaper since highschool, I may have just matured as a reader and be less easily disturbed.
Jeffrey LeBlanc
Lovecraft paved the way for several horror masters and his use of imagery was tremendous. This is amazing for a writer who I found weak on dialogue in some of his tales. But his ability to un-nerve a reader or create incredible and outrageous landscapes of horrifying images cannot be denied. "The Rats in the Walls" is H.P. Lovecraft at his terrifying best.
Stephen Cunliffe
I like this better than any other story by HPL. For the simple reason that there are no extraterrestrial or otherwise fantastic forces involved. This is just about the bad things, really bad things, that man can do to man....and thus so much more frightening.
  LunaBel
Lovecraft never gives me the satisfaction of expressing any feeling of distress or fear. Unlike Poe's short stories, I find Lovecraft's craft kind of dull. It is true that this short story has substance, but it lacks several traits that would make me stop yawning while reading it.
Colton
Phenomenal build up of suspense, although to be honest I wasn't crazy about the way the ending was written.

I did however love every part of the plot, so much detail, yet just enough left for reader interpretation. I love that in a book.
Sarah
I am inexplicably drawn to this horrific story. I really don't know if it revolts me or intrigues me. My instincts on this story are centered right on the apex of the love-hate slopes, and I don't know which way to go - all things equal, I suppose such deep fascination should count for a 5 star rating, but really, I can't say to my pals "you gotta read this on." When I finished it for the first time, I felt like my hands had been groping the floor of a very busy movie theatre at the end of a hig ...more
Les Miskin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Narkiewicz
My first time reading Lovecraft.. an eerie tale reminding me of Poe and Hawthorne.. Feeling connected due to the Polish characters who say their rosary beads when faced with the frightening events in the house.
Kernos
I read this in an Omnibus many years ago, in jr. high school. I still remember the feelings it engendered if not the details of the story. I'm often reminded of the story, especially at night with the lights off in bed as I hear mice scurrying within the walls of my country home in the woods.
Thomas King
It is a fast-paced story with a storyline that is both bizarre and interesting in a macabre kind of way. It's definitely one of my favorites by Lovecraft.
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Classic Horror Lo...: Rats in the Wall by HP Lovecraft *Spoilers* 24 40 Oct 10, 2011 02:37PM  
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Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a
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More about H.P. Lovecraft...
The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror At the Mountains of Madness The Call of Cthulhu

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“Ultimate horror often paralyses memory in a merciful way.” 106 likes
“Through all this horror my cat stalked unperturbed. Once I saw him monstrously perched atop a mountain of bones, and wondered at the secrets that might lie behind his yellow eyes.” 66 likes
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