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Houses without Doors

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,130 ratings  ·  77 reviews
This spectacular collection of 13 dark, haunting tales by bestselling author Straub exposes the terrors that hide beneath the surface of the ordinary world, behind the walls of houses without doors. "Straub at his spellbinding best".--Publishers Weekly.
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published November 30th 1990 by Dutton (first published January 1st 1990)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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mark monday
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to mark by: Maciek
Shelves: horror-modern
various stories, oddments, and novellas. despite the obvious talents of the author, the collection is strikingly variable in quality. a difficult one to rate!

as always, Straub mines inner landscapes for psychological horror gold. sadly much coal was mined as well. that said, and despite whatever reservations I may have for certain stories, his power as a writer is always present. cold-eyed and chilly at heart, Straub is best suited for readers who have little interest in empathizing with a
Peter Straub has long since created a name for himself in the horror genre, with Clive Barker praising his work and calling him a great classicist.Houses Without Doors is an excellent collection of short fiction, illustrating his versatility and style.

Named after a Emily Dickinson poem ("Doom is the house without the door")
the volume contains 6 pieces, and 7 accompanying interludes, which together form a satisfying whole. The interludes, seemingly unrelated, take only a page or two, but in this
Kirstyn McDermott
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
A short story collection that I first read about fifteen years ago and which has stood up well to re-reading. (Despite my memory of it being rather different from the actual book!) Four very strong novellas interspersed with shorter pieces that play with technique and form. Peter Straub is an ambitious writer with an uncanny ability to take an almost-normal character in an almost-normal situation -- a person we can empathise with, a person we think might be only a little bit off-kilter -- and ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am so happy to FINALLY be done with this book. It was SO boring and tedious.
I picked it out at the library because I was looking for a good horror novel and I was under the Impression that Peter Straub wrote horror.
This wasn't horror. Houses Without Doors was...strange, boring, and creepy, but not creepy in the sense of old haunted houses and creaking floorboards, but creepy In the sense of old nasty pedophiles and murderous children.
It put a really bad taste in my mouth.
I wanted to find
Charles Dee Mitchell
When I pick up a Peter Straub novel, I always think it looks too long. When I read A Dark Matter, his 2010 Stoker prizewinner, I thought it needed pruning by at least 100 pages. But I’ve always liked the Straub stories I’ve read in anthologies, and this collection shows that the long short story and novella may be his best format.

His title adapts a line from Emily Dickenson, “Doom is the house without the door –“. A few of his characters inflict doom on others, but most find that they cannot
Brian Joynt
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this several years ago, but didn't remember enough about it to add it to the "read" folder, so I read it again. I'd probably read a telephone book if Straub wrote it; his prose is so lubricated and slick it goes down easy, even though it often has a bitter taste. A lot of his novels fall off the grid in terms of story for me; they can be either too complex or too boring, but I always end up sticking them out because his writing is just so good. That's the case with Houses Without Doors, ...more
Christopher Hivner
This is a book of similarly themed short stories, half of which are short shorts only a few pages long. The characters are people whose lives are untenable. They come from abusive upbringings and are now feeling trapped in their lives.

Straub is an excellent writer and creates vivid, if odd, characters. However, most of these stories didn't work for me. The short shorts were for the most part vague ramblings, not cohesive stories. Of the longer pieces, Blue Rose was the best. It's about an 11
Kevin Lucia
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter Straub elevates horror/dark fiction to an art form. Delectable prose, stories with a literary and artistic bent...this stuff is not to be missed.
What a delightful surprise! I have a couple of shelves of pass-a-long books – great for the vegetating – and they fall mostly into two categories; romance and horror. So this weekend I was looking for a little light reading and I picked out House Without Doors. Straub co-author The Talisman with Stephen King – my favorite King book save The Gunslinger – but I’ve never read anything else by Straub. I see now that’s been a mistake. House Without Doors is a collection of short stories and flash ...more
Scott Rhee
"Houses without Doors" is a short story collection by Peter Straub that sneaks up on you gradually. Straub works his dark magic in a very subtle manner, terrifying you before you have a chance to defend yourself.

Each of these stories is a horror story, but they are not the horrors of the supernatural. There are no monsters or ghosts or witchcraft or wizardry in these stories. The stories Straub writes deal with the horrors everyone faces: guilt, loneliness, depression, hatred, anger, fear. He
Ashley Johnson
This book, like every book by Peter Straub, is different. It's a collection of short stories (and sometimes just interludes) that sometimes chill you, and sometimes confuse you. To me, it wasn't a great book by any means. I say this because in every story there was something about it that didn't sit right with me. Either the characters were poorly developed, the story itself was poorly thought out, or it was so outlandish that by the time it was over I was left thinking "What the hell just ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Psychological horror more well executed and convincing than any other I've read (to be fair, my experience with the genre is limited). 5 stars to Blue rose, and the unique, fascinating and disturbing vision of the other stories. The two longer pieces (that make out the majority of the book) could've probably used some editing, however, I'm torn because at the same time, the slow build really helped create an immersive reading experience.
Crystal Hiatt
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful, psychological and intelligent collection of short stories. This collection contains my favorite story of Straub's 'Mrs. God' I enjoy this story so much, I have an additional copy on my book shelf. It... and all the novellas in this collection.... are great explorations of how far jealousy, hatred, fear, guilt can take us. And none of us are above those emotional influences.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This collection of Straub's stories is really not a horror collection, although there is some true life horror here. It's really just a set of incredible stories, several of which seem to have a heavy autobiographical element. Straub is a fine writer, as good as any literary giant out there. This book is the proof.
Cheryl Chapman
Almost done with this book. I am really not sure I would read another Peter Straub book. I might try one more.... I did not like the endings to most of the stories in this one.
I like authors that leave some things to the imagination, but there was just no resolution at all in many of these. I also like "strange" stories, but some things were just too out of the blue even for me.
Russell Coy
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply no words for this miracle of a collection. "The Juniper Tree" and "The Buffalo Hunter" were standouts, but the whole book is an absolute must for anyone who loves horror with class and imagination.
Bill Mazzola
love short story collections - some were good, some didn't blow me away, some were just freakin weird.
Don Twardowski
I'm not sure what I think. I enjoyed parts of the stories, but wanted more closure.
Adriel Hartnett
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, 2-stars
This is supposed to be horror short story collection (13 tales to be exact). Imagine reaching 60% and I have read only the 3 of them which not a horror at all. Buffalo Hunter is particularly boring and too long. Maybe next time, Straub.
Apr 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't finish it. Boring. Not scary.
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just could not finish all of this book. The first few stories were good but the last few were awful. I love horror and just plain weird books but this one just was too far. I wanted to read Peter Straub because of his work on Stephen King books but he does not have the ability to draw in the reader like King does. I read most of the book up to the last story which I am reading and will finish because I HATE to leave a book unfinished! However, I am having to make myself finish.
Oct 28, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I rarely hate books the way I hated this one. Short stories & novellas. I hated the characters and the stories. That said I don't think the author is a bad writer. The stories (I didn't read all of them) made me feel disturbed about the dregs of society, which might be what the author was going for. Reminded me a bit of Stephen King in style, but not nearly as captivating.
Brian Betke
Dec 21, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lake Michigan is on the west side of the state. Michigan is also in the Eastern Time Zone; easy enough things to look up. Disjointed; seemingly without purpose.
Nov 11, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
it is pointless and waste of time

More in
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great short stories by Peter Straub. This included my first introduction to Harry Beevers, among other wonderful moments.
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not up to his best, by a long shot. Most of these were pointless and went nowhere. Disappointing overall, though much of the writing itself was good.
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, short-stories
I don't know why, none of the stories in this book really grabbed me. Good enough to finish, not good enough to probably ever read again.
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: age-adult, 2002
Weird stories... but weird not in a good way. I had a hard time finishing it.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
'Houses Without Doors' comprises a number of short stories exploring various dark subject matters ranging from paedophilia to murder.

As with most story compilation books, I found this to be a hit and miss. The interludes between stories were unforgettable and uneventful. They all felt strangely incomplete and I found myself wondering why they were even included to begin with. Meanwhile, getting through the last story 'Mrs. God' was torturous simply because it started off promising only to stay
Pamela Morris
I remember reading Straub back in my high school days and really enjoying "Ghost Story" along with "The Talisman" & "Black House" that he did with Stephen King. "Houses Without Doors" was my return to Straub just to see if his work still appealed to me after all this time.

As always, a short story collection is going to have works that you like more than others. "Houses Without Doors" was no exception. It's a collection of 6 short stories with even shorter vignettes placed between the main
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy
“Every night he comes thudding out of sleep drenched in sweat and staring into the dark. Something huge and scaly is twisting away into nothingness. There you are again, he thinks. There you are, old friend.” 2 likes
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