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Other House

3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  178 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews

This terse and startling novel is the story of a struggle for possession—and of its devastating consequences. Three women seek to secure the affections of one man, while he, in turn, tries to satisfy them all. But in the middle of this contest of wills stands his unwitting and vulnerable young daughter. The conclusion of The Other House makes it one of the most disturbing

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Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 8th 1996 by Orion Publishing Group, Ltd. (first published 1896)
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(showing 1-30 of 452)
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Glenn Russell
FINAL REVIEW

This Henry James is one of the oddest novels I’ve ever read. The six main characters, three women and three men, all well-educated, well-spoken members of the English upper class, sip their tea, converse in the most highly polished civilized manor, but how civilized are they, really? On one level, this is a novel of manners, the six characters interacting as if they were members of a string sextet playing in a minor key, say Tchaikovsky’s string sextet in D minor; on another level, J
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Teresa
Oct 10, 2010 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting, odd book, if only because it seems so different from any other Henry James I've read. Here, he is forthright, less obtuse, less wordy and less allusive. The evil in the story is chilling, and the theme of the power and drive of sexual attraction seems contemporary.

He wrote this after his plays were widely panned, but he must've learned something about play-writing, as I can easily see this being turned into a play or a movie; the plotting and dialogue are especially fine.
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Rambling Reader
odd
John Everett
Read in the 70s in a graduate-level seminar I took as an undergraduate English major. In a study written for that class, I labeled this 1896 tale a "sensationalistic novel of thwarted love and murder" (which I see now should've read "murder and thwarted love") and went on to explore in detail how Ibsen's Rosmersholm, Hedda Gabler, and Little Eyolf had contributed to characters, relationships, plot elements, and one important setting. I'll recap a bit of that here.

Rose, this novel's central chara
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Justin Evans
Mar 23, 2011 Justin Evans rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Worst James I've read? Certainly. I recognize that there are reasons for that: this was meant to be a play, and he's much better at understated moral turmoil than understated murderous rage. And if you're interested in James' career you'll want to read this at some point. But in itself? It reads like a bad play, in the worst possible way. The stage can never be empty, there can never be time between conversations, nobody ever seems to do anything other than talk to each other. The film trailer f ...more
Eileen
May 18, 2010 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: britlit
Brain is not working right now, so rough notes only. HJ is obviously transitioning from the play to the novel form, as shown in all the very clear scene delineations from one chapter to another. New character interaction = new scene. Difficult to get through, probably because it was hard to engage with the characters. Feels like they were written in a way that would allow actors some wide interpretation, shall we say. They were names and relationships more than characters per se. Also the whole ...more
Peter
Nov 05, 2014 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a book I'd ordinarily read given that it is one of James' least known works, but it happened to be the best of a small pile of books in an apartment we were staying in while in Italy and it helped pass the time on our flight back to the U.S. of A.

On the surface The Other House explores the social environment that impels a young woman to murder a four-year old child. The woman is not of a lower class, but is rather love-stricken over her best friend's husband. Before her best friend dies aft
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Erica Harmon
Dec 22, 2010 Erica Harmon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the 1948 version that came into the bookstore, but would like to go back and read the ny review of books intro. It was like reading Jane Austin, but modernized slightly (100 years) and with a terrifying twist that reminds you that it's from the same author as The Turn of the Screw. I was reminded of Shirley Jackson, too. My god I hate author comparisons, but there you are: it's a Jane Jackson, or a Shirley Austin.
David M
Jul 28, 2015 David M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you try and read every book by any author you're bound to run into a few duds; this is true even when the author was maybe the greatest novelist who ever lived. The Other House is mostly forgotten, and for good reason. Your time would be much better spent with What Maisie Knew, Spoils of Poynton, or even the Awkward Age (to name just the other late British novels).
Jim Leckband
Dec 27, 2015 Jim Leckband rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was the worst of James, it was the worst of James. A tale of two houses, with a fateful river and hundreds of pages between them until Sydney Carton Tony Bream sacrifices himself. Charles Dickens can fit the entire French Revolution into A Tale of Two Cities, James takes the same amount to (view spoiler) ...more
Clara
Dec 16, 2014 Clara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sorry, Henry James. I tried and got through several chapters, but honestly, I've see less fluff, pomp and circumstance on a rich ladies poodle.
Akshat Sharma
Jan 02, 2015 Akshat Sharma rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the worst thing that has happened to me, and I am in grad school.

So here's the thing: I stick with Henry because, at the end of the day, he has a compelling story to tell, and his characters are beautifully flawed. They are real. You see yourself in their twisted motivations and reasoning. Think everyone in "Wings of the Dove," think Madame Merle in "Portrait..."

Yeah. Not here. It reads like a high-minded pulp novel. Is this is a joke? Was Henry James commissioned by Clickhole? God, wh
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Proustitute
4.5/5 stars

A tricky book to rate, and more thoughts coming soon... likely lengthy thoughts.

Despite how this novel is considered a "minor" James, I think it's a pivotal one, one that shows his shift from failing at writing for the stage, to the more dense circumlocutions of his "major" work that would soon follow.

If this were written by any other author, this would be a solid 5 stars, hands down. But James—my dear, dear James—is not in fine form here: consider this novel a practice drill, an expe
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Luciabo
Oct 12, 2012 Luciabo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzo
James non è uno scrittore facile e questo libro, concordo con chi lo ha definito un testo teatrale, è molto impegnativo. Inizia in modo quasi leggero, chiacchiere tra vicini di villa, tutto eleganza, bon ton e massima educazione. Poi l’apparente convivialità degenera in sospetto, trame, macchinazioni, tutto senza parole di troppo, ma con accenni qui e là di interessi particolari, di scarsa limpidità di propositi e di atteggiamenti.
L’antefatto: una promessa, strappata in punto di morte da una gi
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Cecil Vosges
Mar 07, 2016 Cecil Vosges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as James' usual, but the first section is so brilliant I could not bear to give it only three stars.
Shiloh
Apr 26, 2008 Shiloh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is all dialogue, and really good dialogue... maybe it's just the modern girl in me but do people as a group generally express themselves with so much sincerity and eloquence?
Do jilted lovers have such relentless good will toward one another? And can you really blame indulgent, rich men for provoking questionable loyalties? If you're Henry James you can just about pull it off and leave even the modern reader breathless with the million little connections that eventually converge into t
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Becky Sharp
Un Henry James muy flojito para mi gusto.
Jill
May 25, 2014 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the way this book read because of the incredibly intelligent dialogue. It is also totally unpredictable - a big virtue to me. It concerns only a handful of people, so you get to know (or think you know) the characters pretty well. It is very well-written (James always is), and I didn't want to put it down. The one difficulty I had was that there are several sentences/paragraphs so long (Mark Twain style) that you have to pay close attention to be sure you didn't lose the original point.. ...more
Nancy
Although I am a Henry James fan, I found this story not like James at all. The characters act out of character and their actions are contrived. The plot is strained.
I wondered why I had never heard of this particular James story and I got my answer. I wouldn't particularly recommend this one.
Peter
Feb 18, 2013 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Minor James - oddly flawed - almost a James as interpreted by Edward Gorey. Phony plot devices (death bed promises), theatrical pacing and scene setting, etc. Still, lots of interesting material. A sort of skeletal primer for Wings of the Dove and one of James' weirder more unsettling endings.
Callee
Aug 12, 2012 Callee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmmm.... I didn't love this James Novella. However, I can see how an audience of 1903, reading it as a serial in a newspaper week after week would be enrapt! There was DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA right to the end - like a modern day soap opera, except everyone is TERRIBLY polite! haha!
Jillian
Oct 16, 2012 Jillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Like many other reviewers, I was unsatisfied with the ending and felt Rose was a little too lady-like for what she did. However, I still enjoyed the story immensely (probably because I'm a huge James/Wharton fan:).
Sarah
Mar 29, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but it's not my favorite Henry James novel. The setting and dialogue made it read to me more like a play than a novelette.
Amber
Apr 05, 2008 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian
Tragic and beautiful, this is my favorite book by Henry James.
Alyson
Nov 15, 2009 Alyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeper characters than Daisy Miller. Would love to see the play.
Heather (aka Lou)
I LOVE Henry James, but...
Liza
Jun 06, 2011 Liza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So scary!
W.T.Hull
W.T.Hull marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2016
Marcia
Marcia rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2016
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NYRB Classics: The Other House, by Henry James 4 8 Oct 30, 2013 04:50PM  
  • Indian Summer
  • Eustace and Hilda
  • Three Bedrooms in Manhattan
  • The New York Stories
  • The House of Mirth / The Reef / The Custom of the Country / The Age of Innocence
  • The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert
  • The Outward Room
  • Mr. Fortune's Maggot; and, The Salutation
  • Afloat
  • The Old Man and Me
  • The Furies
  • Alice James
  • Memoirs of Hecate County
  • Adventures of Sindbad
  • The Unpossessed
  • Apartment in Athens
  • During the Reign of the Queen of Persia
  • Varieties of Exile
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Henry James, OM, son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the ...more
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