Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Willows” as Want to Read:
The Willows
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

The Willows

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  5,121 Ratings  ·  480 Reviews
Two friends are midway on a canoe trip down the Danube River. Throughout the story Blackwood personifies the surrounding environment—river, sun, wind—and imbues them with a powerful and ultimately threatening character. Most ominous are the masses of dense, desultory, menacing willows, which "moved of their own will as though alive, and they touched, by some incalculable m ...more
Paperback, 105 pages
Published June 1st 2002 by Borgo Press (first published 1907)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Willows, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Henry Avila
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
H. P. Lovecraft, called "The Willows", by Algernon Blackwood, a great name by the way, the "best weird tale of all time", you be the judge ... In the early part of the Twentieth Century, two experienced young adventurers, decided to take a canoe trip, down the famous Danube River, during the summer, how glorious. Starting from its beginning, in the Black Forest, to the end, when the river reaches the Black Sea (a distant 2,000 miles away). The "Swede", and the narrator, remain anonymous througho ...more

I am a big fan of Horror, including the classics, but I feel like massive POSER having just now experienced for the first time Algernon Blackwood’s inspiring novella of otherworldly dread. This is simply such a superbly crafted tale that it is not hard to see why H.P. Lovecraft (whose work I love) called this the best supernatural tale in the English language. As HPL himself put it:
Here art and restraint in narrative reach their very highest development, and an impression of lasting poignanc
Bobby Underwood
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in the early 1900s as part of a collection of stories, H.P. Lovecraft felt that Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows was simply the greatest tale of the supernatural in English literature. It is a novella, and has a bare minimum of dialog between the narrator and his good friend, the Swede. It lacks the blood and gore and violence so endemic of horror today, and yet despite what some would consider handicaps, The Willows is one of the most atmospheric books in the genre you will ever read. ...more
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
What a beautifully written atmospheric and creepy story this was. Timeless in the quality of the eerie telling of this fine strange tale. It is a short story yet it leaves you satisfied without the need for a lengthy book. Very imaginative writing weaves a slow and steady building of a foreboding element of fear that the characters are experiencing, which transfers over to the reader.

This is a story not to be missed if you enjoy a classic eerie and creepy type of horror read.

I highly recommend
mark monday
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
...something so big and yet immaterial, out of reach and yet reaching for you; two men on a canoe trip down the Danube - what wonders! what beauty! what bliss! - find there are worlds and things beyond us, terrible and awe-inspiring things, inexplicable things, things that rise from the willows, things that bore spiraled holes in sand and flesh; Blackwood an author who embraces nature, its wonders and beauty, its terrible terrors; Blackwood an author who searches for new dimensions, places beyon ...more
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Blackwood was a master of setting and intimate characterization.

Using a minimalistic approach to casting and dialogue, he nonetheless was able to create a scene of almost photographic understanding and omniscience.

Like The Wendigo, The Willows personifies elements of nature to create a chilling, supernatural tale of gothic, psychological horror. This story delved more deeply into weird fiction and readers of H.P. Lovecraft will recognize themes present.

This is a very good story by itself and
This review and the rest of the crap I write can be seen @ my blog Bark's Book Nonsense . Stop by and say hey.
Reading for HA's December Group Read. Actually, I'll be listening. The book was free @ Amazon and the audio add-on only $2.99. Bargain!

I decided to read this on audio since it was cheap and I have too many Netgalley books that I should be reading. If you follow my reviews, you probably know I have very little patience for slow starters and this is most definitely a slow starter. Fortuna
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, teh-weird
I began the long journey from my computer desk to my futon/couch/bed in order to partake in reading the next story from the devilish collection of unspeakable horrors that some have dared call The Weird, but which I will not even give name to in fear of invoking the ire of the those powers beyond the imagination of man. I dreaded the walk. The dirty clothes on the floor screamed out in soundless horror at me, and even though I knew it was just my Spazz t-shirt and some dirty socks, and I told my ...more
The Willows is Algernon Blackwood's most famous story, and one which H.P. Lovecraft listed as his personal favorite of all weird tales.

Two men - the unnamed narrator and his friend, known only as "The Swede" - travel on a canoe across the Danube. The river begins somewhere in the German Black Forest and stretches across the continent, before finally emptying into the Black Sea. The two adventurous men plan to traverse through its whole length, following the steps of the ancient Roman emperors,
Vendigo 4 stars
The Willows 5 stars
Descent to Egypt 4 stars
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
Um. This one is hard to decide on rating-wise.


Loved the writing style - it was beautiful, clever, haunting and heady stuff. He writes so well I'll definitely check out more of his work.

Atmosphere - So thick you could cut a knife with it. Outstanding tension, creepy tone, I can hear the humming and picture the swaying willows...Atmosphere is the top redeeming quality for this story. If you think of 'The Willows', this is what a reader will probably remember first.

Characters - I enjoyed the t
Frogy (Ivana)
Vendigo 4*
Vrbe 5*
Silazak u Egipat 4*
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review Orfelinovog izdanja:

Vendigo - 4*
Priča koja otvara zbirku vodi nas u divljine Kanade i služi se motivom iz folklora severnoameričkih indijanaca (pardon, starosedelaca). Budući da se Vendigo posebno povezuje s kanibalizmom, očekivao sam da će priča krenuti u tom pravcu i donekle sam se razočarao što se to nije desilo, ali Blekvud je takav majstor laganog građenja atmosfere da sam ubrzo zaboravio na sopstvena očekivanja i prepustio se mračnoj magiji njegove proze. Doduše, kada je jedan od li
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Strange. Dreamy. Chilling. Vivid imagination. Creepy at times. Kind of story that would make you keep looking over your shoulder from time to time to check if there was someone looking at you from distance or the sound that you heard just now was real or part of your imagination. Excellent!
J.G. Keely
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This most famous work of Blackwood's is one of those classic short stories of weird horror mentioned alongside pieces by Lovecraft, Howard, Machen, Bierce, and Chambers as worthy of even a discerning reader. Like many such stories, it starts somewhat slowly, establishing first that picture of normal life from which we must soon, and by gradations, deviate beyond recall. I grew to feel it may have been a bit too slow--though it is always difficult to strike such a balance. So much of the story wa ...more

One day, not so long ago, two stoners went camping and smoked one bowl too many. They forgot that in the wilderness what seems idyllic during the day...

...will look differently at night.

Every sound a dreadful otherworldly whisper, every bush a demon: oh yes, they are tripping hard. But manfully they attempt to ignore it by talking about other things. Too bad one friend chooses this moment to confess his psychic ability to sense trans dimensional demons.

What the hell do you say to that? Clearly
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Algernon really knows how to write well and places you into a truly haunting atmosphere in this story. Two men venture during their expeditions in territory that is not the norm which encompass huge daunting malevolent Willow trees. I must read more stories of his.

"The psychology of places, for some imaginations at least, is very vivid; for the wanderer, especially, camps have their "note" either of welcome or rejection. At first it may not always be apparent, because the busy preparations of te
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one that I make a point of reading every year. In MHO, truly one of the best horror stories every written. PERIOD.

**Another Re-read! Still 5 stars, and I'm still noticing "little details" that I don't remember from previous readings. :)**
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Henry Avila
Shiverlicious! Thanks Henry. I loved it.

You all everybody read Henry's spot on review right here:
Um so this was kinda the scariest thing I've ever read.
Maybe it says something about me, but the older classic horror novels I am always shocked at how quaint they seem in comparison to works like "It." "It" gave me nightmares for weeks on end as a kid, this book, though scary in tone, is more mental than anything, your brain can turn what the unnamed narrator is describing into something worse.

The main plot of "The Willows" is about two long time friends who are taking a canoe trip down the Danube River. We have the narrator and his friend called
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
At first I didn't know what to think of this story, but after reading it, I'm really glad I decided to because it was incredible and creative, with unforgettable characters and a very original plot. Definitely worth reading, this book is a fantastic and interesting story with a lot of unexpected events.
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I chose this short story for my annual Halloween read, hoping it would give me a few chills which it did. And even though the ending wasn't all that I hoped it would be, I enjoyed the journey in getting there much more than the characters in this story enjoyed theirs.

This story is told by an unnamed man who, along with his unnamed traveling companion, referred to only as the Swede, travels down the Danube River by canoe on what was supposed to be an exhilarating adventure. The men had been raci
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, 2010, review
Review from Badelynge
As someone who has had a lifetime fascination with ghost stories and mythology I could hardly ignore the works of Algernon Blackwood. If you have ever picked up one of the multitude of anthologies that profess to contain the best ghost stories it is a good bet that one, if not more, of Blackwood's tales will be included. The Willows was first published in 1907 and is not a ghost story. It is, however, a horror story. Blackwood was a great lover of the natural world and it sh
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it
The Delaware river is right outside my front window and I've experienced true terror many times in the past several years. We lived here peacefully for 15 years before the monster arrived. Some people don't believe in the monster, but all of us that live here know first hand that it is very real.

The monster turned what used to be a somewhat predictable 50 year flood cycle into a very real and unpredictable threat that always lurks in the background. The monster's name is Climate Change. We've e
Lisa Reads & Reviews
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Dylan
Shelves: kindle, horror, classics
At this point in my reading career, I don't believe I've read better building and rendering of fear than The Willows by Blackwood. The writing--word choice, dialogue--everything around those moments of terror were so evocative, I felt them, all while lying safely beneath a roof, on the sofa. The plot is simple--two men rowing a boat along the Danube River. They camp in an area overgrown with Willows. From that point, the mix of terror in the imagination, and subtle hints in the environment, is s ...more
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Willows is the most suspenseful 50 pages I have ever read. This ghost story about two men canoeing down the Danube River really struck a nerve in me because it really hits upon the heart of man’s fear. It conveys the same sense of dread and distress that every person has experienced at some point in their lives. Whether it is taking a wrong turn into a bad neighborhood, a noise in your house that wakes you in the middle of the night, or that strange shadow you see when you are alone in a par ...more
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Bio sam neobično ali veoma jasno svjestan postojanja jednog drugačijeg svijeta - na neki način ne toliko udaljenog od našeg, ali ipak načelno potpuno različitog - gdje se čudesne stvari neprestano dešavaju, gdje beskrajna i jezovita bića užurbano hode, obuzeta svojim neizmjernim ciljevima spram kojih su sve ovozemaljske stvari, usponi i padovi civilizacija, propasti carstava, sudbine armija i kontinenata, sve samo prašina u poređenju".

Divnoća. Blekvudovi likovi ne pričaju mnogo, a nemaju ni kad
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I just finished reading The Willows by Algernon Blackwood. It was originally published as part of his 1907 collection The Listener and Other Stories. My problem with the "story" has nothing to do with it, it has to do with what it is. It's been on one of my to read lists for some time and I always thought - when I thought of it at all - as a novel. I assumed some day while wandering through a used book store I would come across this 300 or so page book and finally own a copy. However, that never ...more
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2011

5 Short Stars

  This is classic horror at it's finest. It truly amazes me that this was written over 100 years ago. Written by a man that lived in a very different time from us today. Yet, amazingly, even if we take away all  the advancements in science, strip away all of our technologies, and rid ourselves of all our modern conveniences, we will find that we have not changed much as a people.  This story is still relevant today. It is easy for us to relate with the two men as they go through thi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Bookhouse Boys: Halloween read: "The Willows" 23 13 Nov 06, 2015 09:07AM  
  • More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
  • The Three Impostors and Other Stories
  • The House on the Borderland
  • Cold Hand in Mine: Strange Stories
  • The Beckoning Fair One
  • Can Such Things Be? Biography & Autobiography
  • House of Corruption
  • Teatro Grottesco
  • The Ballad of Bad Jack (Slab City Blues #4)
  • Pigeons from Hell
  • The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume Two (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang #1.2)
  • The End of the Story
  • Supernatural Horror in Literature
Blackwood was born in Shooter's Hill (today part of south-east London, but then part of northwest Kent) and educated at Wellington College. His father was a Post Office administrator who, according to Peter Penzoldt, "though not devoid of genuine good-heartedness, had appallingly narrow religious ideas." Blackwood had a varied career, farming in Canada, operating a hotel, as a newspaper reporter i ...more
More about Algernon Blackwood

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • A Garden of Earthly Delights (Wonderland Quartet, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
    $16.99 $1.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Loser
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Map and the Territory
    $8.99 $2.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Father's Day
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts (Sacketts, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Sugar Queen
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Birth House
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Open City
    $12.99 $1.99
“When common objects in this way be come charged with the suggestion of horror, they stimulate the imagination far more than things of unusual appearance; and these bushes, crowding huddled about us, assumed for me in the darkness a bizarre grotesquerie of appearance that lent to them somehow the aspect of purposeful and living creatures. Their very ordinariness, I felt, masked what was malignant and hostile to us.” 29 likes
“The psychology of places, for some imaginations at least, is very vivid; for the wanderer, especially, camps have their "note" either of welcome or rejection.” 11 likes
More quotes…