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The Willows

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  7,484 ratings  ·  756 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)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,484 ratings  ·  756 reviews

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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 throughout the book ...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 poi
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 recomme
J.L.   Sutton
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved Algernon Blackwood's The Willows! Everything about the wilderness the protagonists travel through exudes creepiness. This wilderness infects those who travel through it with dread and a sense of foreboding. For those who are paranoid that the world is out to get them, this story will confirm all your fears! I highly recommend this novella!
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
A very special story, unfortunately there is no italian version and the English used by Blackwood has not been for me really of immediate and easy understanding( many words by now obsolete).
What I love about Blackwood is his ability to get you into a psychological strain during the reading that very few other writers have been able to get me to experience.
The dreamlike descriptions but at the same time supernatural and demonic are unforgettable, in this story nothing special happens, but the boo
mark monday
...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: teh-weird, horror
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,
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
My Half-Banarcled Son highly recommended I DO NOT read this story, so of course I did. Goes to show how bloody shrimping moronic nefarious overlords can be sometimes. And it also goes to show that crossbreed invertebrate offspring can be uncharacteristically and most surprisingly wise once in a century or so sometimes.

Oh, and also, this story made me feel kinda sorta like this =

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
Rachel Bea
Um so this was kinda the scariest thing I've ever read.
Vendigo 4 stars
The Willows 5 stars
Descent to Egypt 4 stars
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. :)**
Em Lost In Books
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!

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
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
Psychological Horror!

Two friends who enjoy traveling rivers, decides to spend a summer traveling the Black Danube.

They are having a leisurely time of it, and pitches their tent wherever the river takes them.

They run into a strong, tempestuous run off and gratefully lands on a small island.

When they arrive, the island is about an acre, but the violent water from the river is tearing large clumps away.

That doesn’t appear to be their only problem, for though they have not seen anyone else on the ti
Dannii Elle
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an intensely chilling and atmospheric little read. The entire story was based on one, small, almost uninhabited island and the interactions were between only two individuals. And yet this did not need anything more when the landscape played such a large, central focus and enhanced the eerie qualities of the piece to overwhelmingly terrifying proportions!
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
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:
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This short story had creepy written on every page but the last few. I expected more of a creepy finish to go along with what I had read. Sorely disappointed.
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.
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
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: review, 2010, horror
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
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
Lisa Reads & Reviews
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Dylan
Shelves: classics, kindle, horror
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
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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

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