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The End of the Sentence

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  462 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
It begins with a letter from a prisoner...

As he attempts to rebuild his life in rural Oregon after a tragic accident, Malcolm Mays finds himself corresponding with Dusha Chuchonnyhoof, a mysterious entity who claims to be the owner of Malcolm's house, jailed unjustly for 117 years. The prisoner demands that Malcolm perform a gory, bewildering task for him. As the clock tic
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 1st 2014 by Subterranean Press
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Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Enjoyed this novella of a weird house and a dead/alive convict writing letters to the new owner of said weird house. Has a slightly spooky feel, with ghostly happenings in the house, and some mystery surrounding the events that put the man (?) in jail many years ago.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing

An absolutely gorgeous fairy tale, I am tempted to call this a perfect book -- and I honestly cannot recall feeling that way about any other book I have ever read before. I picked this up around midnight or so, and literally could not put it down. It's a very fast read -- I finished in just a few short hours. I don't want to say much more for fear of ruining this beautiful story. Please, read this one.
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
First, I would like to explain I do not read horror novels. I am a wuss. So when I bought this novella--I'm an admirer of Kat Howard's short stories--and realized it was spooky, I decided to read it in the mornings so I wouldn't be too scared. But what I didn't take into consideration is that I get up at 5:00 am, and it's still dark! Therefore, even though this isn't particularly frightening, I still managed to freak myself out every morning reading it:) For example, one night at 2:00 in the mor ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
After a personal tragedy, Malcolm Mays spends the last of his funds to purchase a rundown house in a remote Oregon town. Upon arrival, Malcolm receives letters from a Dusha Chuchonnyhoof who claims to own Malcolm's house. Dusha writes that he is a prisoner in a nearby jail serving two lifetimes and a day –117 years-- and the end of his sentence approaches, upon which he shall return to his house, Malcolm's new house. In preparation for his homecoming, Dusha requires Malcolm to perform a gruesome ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novella, fantasy
Love, loss, sacrifice. Yeah, this hit me right in the feels. Comes with a delicious undercurrent of dread and possible menace.
Oct 12, 2014 added it
Shelves: read-in-2014
A fun creepy novella about monsters, ghosts, and madness.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it

“Nobody who hasn’t been hurt can work a miracle.”

Oooh, that was lovely and strange and refreshingly original!

Malcolm Mays has run from grief to an old abandoned house in a small town. The house takes a liking to him, as does its long dead occupants who write to him daily. They have requests and will not be denied because the sentence is ending - there is price to be paid.

History, new mythology, magic, monsters, guilt, and ghosts - the more I think about this story the more I like it.

Terry Weyna
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Malcolm Mays is very close to the end of his rope. After the collapse of his terrible marriage, after a horrific tragedy, he has spent close to his last dollars on a house in rural Ione, Oregon. His first sight of the house confirms that there’s plenty of work to be done, but also that there’s something good to work with. When he opens the front door to his new home for the first time, he finds a huge pile of mail written to the dead owner of the house from an inmate at the federal prison two hu ...more
Thom (T.E.)
Mar 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Rate this one at a strong 3 stars. I'm a great believer that many great tales of dark fiction are told best as novellas or short novels--and perhaps this is just the sort of exception that proves the rule. The early chapters are such a crash-dive into a series of convenient-to-the-plot oddities that it all felt a bit sketchy--as if the authors were more concerned with the poetic concision with which they kept the protagonists world off-kilter.

I found it very strange indeed that I was wanting thi
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing. Draws you in right from the start and holds your attention to the end and beyond. A very well told and engaging story. The authors paint a vivid picture while bringing the story to life.
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Oregon gothic, with ghosts and generations of terrible sacrifices. Good start and an intriguing haunted house, but it just seemed to go on and on, and by the end I was beyond caring about Malcolm or any of the people or how it turned out. No doubt this has an audience, but not my dish of blood.
Joel Neff
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An exquisite ghost / monster / love story about loss and pain and repentance set in the Oregon desert and spanning hundreds of years. Haunting, lovely, atmospheric as all hell, and truly inventive. Highly, highly recommended.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
An amazing concept, and a refreshing take on several horror tropes. I've devoured the first half of this novella, anxious to find out what happens next. In the second half, however, everything seemed to happen too fast, the protagonist was merely reduced to the narrator of the story, with little agency, and the ending left me a little disappointed. There's too much in this story to fit in a novella, although it's still a beautiful one.
The End of the Sentence is a collaboration between Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard. That alone is a serious indicator of the quality the reader can expect, but it's truly magical how well these two write together. Usually with a collab, you can pick out each voice here and there, but this time I genuinely wasn't able to do so - it was everything good about both of them.

Malcolm Mays is a man at the tail end of a whole lot of nothing good. He's lost his family, appears to have no friends, but
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this is...exquisite and terrifying and Weird. part folk horror, part fairy tale, part psychogeography, part...something else entirely. emotionally rich, vividly imagined, and deftly (co-)written. very strongly recommended.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The End of the Sentence is a slightly creepy character piece. The narrative protagonist purchases a dilapidated house in a small town, after experiencing an initially unrevealed trauma. Within the house he uncovers a small mountain of letters. All were sent from a nearby prison. All indicate that the writer is soon to leave the prison, and return to the house. At the same time, the house begins to behave in unexpected and (at least initially) unexplainable ways.

This is really a piece about both
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Amazing roller-coaster of a book that starts out slow in tone but adds layer upon layer of strangeness and creepiness as the story develops. While there are others among the pages, this really ends up being a story of two men, two women, and the haunted house that connects them. Great read!
Clinton Hays
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. It takes no time to get going. The pacing is wonderful, and the style is so cinematic, it's easy to picture everything playing out on a screen in your mind.
Michael Carnell
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not only is this well crafted novella a great read, it is also a fitting companion to the autumn winds of October and the upcoming Halloween.

In equal parts ghost story and murder mystery, horror tale and modern mythos, the authors have woven a story out of elements so familiar that they feel like our own history, but they have threaded these among circumstances so foreign, and at times horrifying, that we recoil. After recoiling however, we must look back and, with the author's firm hand upon o
Edward Kane
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The protagonist's madness is real. I've felt it. I don't fully understand how but this book managed to terrify me of what lurked around the next page and yet command me to keep turning the pages. For the first half, it kept the anxiety lingering in my stomach. You know that awful feeling of dread that lives in the pit of your stomach. But there's a certain kind of magic to it as well, it's a romantic bliss that accompanies the anxiety. And the lovely Subterranean hardcover only adds to it. The r ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A ghost of a story

Malcolm Mays has run away from a personal Southern Gothic tragedy to rewrite a life for himself in I one, Oregon in a house he purchased from a foreclosure list. Reality ends when Malcolm walks through the door for the first time.
The End of the Sentence is a novella which I enjoyed but ultimately found frustrating because it wasn't a novel. Had it been longer the characters may have been more completely realized. I truly enjoyed the mix of legends, lore, and ghosts. However Ma
Satisfyingly creepy from beginning to end. I could wish the climactic reveal had been a bit less rushed, and the ending was ultimately tidier than I might have liked. But the tone is pitch-perfect throughout, and the imagery original and chilling.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
probably a 3.5 but it was so weirdly hypnotic i bumped up my rating, though i'm not totally sure it is justified... does that make sense?? i loved the mythological-ish elements and the idea of being tied inextricably to the land by blood and love and evil... still, at times i found the prose a bit stilted and meandering... maybe more details about Chuhonnyhoof and how (and where) he existed? not sure, as i'm still kinda torn about what exactly i read... some sort of chthonic fiction tale, kept a ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was too short. All good books are too short. I could have spent days in that strange house, with its strange happenings, its strange impersonation of domesticity. I loved every minute of my time here. But what I'd loved most about this book is how it subverted my expectations of where it was going. I'd expected cruelty, a grief at the end of the sentence, but what I found lingered like the last breath of autumn.

Beautiful. I hope those two do more collaborations.
James Swenson
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
The creepy story of a man who starts a new life by buying an abandoned house that turns out to be haunted. Unfortunately, I thought the story fizzled at the end. It's hard to finish a ghost story successfully, without explaining away all the mystery.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book left me with more questions than answers. It kinda seems like it focused on the least interesting person in the story and the least interesting thing that happened to the other characters. A story about Ironhide would have been more interesting
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
In some ways it was well-crafted and it built up a sense of foreboding and horror at the unknown of what was going to happen. But the resolution didn't feel particularly worth it to me, the last few chapters were almost random in comparison to the rest of it.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a fan of Kat Howard's work and Amazon suggested this book. The writing is fine. The premise is fine. But it just wasn't for me. It's seldom I put a book down because it's too dark or too violent but this was both.
Alethea Bothwell
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a marvelous folk tale, set in the present but nevertheless eerie and strange. I'm not sure I entirely understood everything that was going on!
Paula Lyle
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was very interesting and lyrically written, but the end was disappointing. It brought closure, but not understanding.
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Maria Dahvana Headley is the New York Times-bestselling author of, most recently, THE MERE WIFE (out July 17, 2018 from MCD/FSG). Upcoming in 2019 is a new translation of BEOWULF, also from FSG. As well, she is the author of the young adult skyship novels MAGONIA and AERIE from HarperCollins, the dark fantasy/alt-history novel QUEEN OF KINGS, the internationally bestselling memoir THE YEAR OF YES, ...more