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Other House

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  25 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

Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 8th 1996 by Orion Publishing Group, Ltd. (first published 1896)
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Glenn Russell

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
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.
John E. Branch Jr.
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
Justin Evans
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
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
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
Erica Harmon
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.
Akshat Sharma
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
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
David M
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).
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
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.
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
Becky Sharp
Un Henry James muy flojito para mi gusto.
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
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.
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.
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!
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:).
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.
Tragic and beautiful, this is my favorite book by Henry James.
Deeper characters than Daisy Miller. Would love to see the play.
Heather (aka Lou)
I LOVE Henry James, but...
Pearl marked it as to-read
Nov 26, 2015
Paul Wilner
Paul Wilner marked it as to-read
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Oct 15, 2015
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NYRB Classics: The Other House, by Henry James 4 8 Oct 30, 2013 04:50PM  
  • Indian Summer
  • Alice James
  • Eustace and Hilda
  • Tropic Moon
  • The Furies
  • The House of Mirth / The Reef / The Custom of the Country / The Age of Innocence
  • During the Reign of the Queen of Persia
  • The New York Stories
  • Summer Will Show
  • The Unpossessed
  • The Outward Room
  • Memoirs of Hecate County
  • School for Love
  • White Walls: Collected Stories
  • The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert
  • Wish Her Safe at Home
  • The Old Man and Me
  • In Love
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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