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Wylding Hall

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,803 ratings  ·  598 reviews
When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. There they create the album that will make their reputation, but at a terrifying cost: Julian Blake, the group’s lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen or heard from a ...more
ebook, 176 pages
Published February 17th 2015 by Open Road Integrated
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand is a 2015 Open Road Media publication.

Sex, drugs, rock and roll…. And a ghost?
In the mid-seventies, a folk -rock group loses one of its members, tragically. Needing them to regroup, focus, and get some songs written and recorded, their management carts them off to an old country house where they will stay, removed from any distractions. They produce their most infamous album, but before they leave the crumbling estate, their most popular group member, Julian, will
2.1.18-I've been thinking about this story since I finished it and as such, I've decided to up my rating to the full 5/5 stars.

WYLDING HALL is a fun novella that doesn't neatly fit into any single category other than, perhaps, dark fiction.

It looks like a thousand other people have already written reviews so I'll just say: this is a beautifully written example of a quiet horror story with building tension and dread.

WYLDING HALL is my second reading of Hand's work, the first being her collection
Apr 19, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, horror, 2010s
I've mentioned before that haunted house stories are probably my favorite sub-genre of horror. This is one of those books that I see mentioned online in "Great Horror Books" lists all the time, and my curiosity has grown over the years. I mean 70s folk rockers in a haunted house? That sounds awesome!

Finally I decided to give it a shot. My Thoughts?

A solid "Ugh."

Plot: Done in the form of several interviews with band, their manager and a few others involved, Wylding Hall is the story of of a 70s
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
So damn good! What an addicting read!
Elizabeth Hand blew me away with this creepy and excellent novella. I have not read anything by her before but she’s got a new fan now!

Wylding Hall starts with the former band members of Windhollow Faire talking about that summer up in Hampshire, England. Their band manager rents out an old manor house in the middle of nowhere. He hopes the remote setting will get them creative and put out new music for an acid-folk album. Boy does it!

The book is written
Will I ever get tired of stories like this? I assume it'll happen one day, but... not yet. Wylding Hall is a very entertaining ghost story about a folk band who decamp to a crumbling, miles-from-anywhere country house (the only kind there is) to record their second album. The main action takes place in the 1970s, but the story is told by the (remaining) members of the band in the present day, each taking it in turns to relate mini-monologues as though they're being interviewed for a documentary ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is what happens when Daisy Jones and the Six meets the Haunting at Hill House. Parts of this book was spooky and though not horrifying it was definitely disturbing.

Members of a folk band decide to stay at Wylding Hall, an old countryside mansion. They try to create songs for their next album and their manager thinks this setting will inspire them. The world seems to be so different for the band members as they get entangled with the local folklores and people. There are some weird thin
In the early 1970s, a British acid folk music group went to stay at Wylding Hall, a remote, crumbling old house in the country. Their agent sent them there to get away from it all so they could plan and work on their first album. The songs they record that summer make an album that nobody will ever forget....but dark things happen as well. Dark and strange things happen, including the disappearance of the band's lead vocalist, Julian Blake. Decades later, members of the band, their agent and oth ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-shelf, horror
This was one hell of a striking horror story.

Not because it was overly horrific and the scary bits were positively mild compared to ... almost ANY horror novel out there, but because it was SO BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN.

Yes. It's a ghost story, but the realization that it WAS a ghost didn't show up till nearly the end. The rest is all details, details, details. That pretty much sums up any great ghost story, of course, but I have to say that Elizabeth Hand NAILED IT.

Plus, I happen to be a huge fan of s
Althea Ann
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, eerie, convincing novel.

Fans of Elizabeth Hand will recognize many of the themes and elements that she likes to return to. (In particular, it reminded me in feel of her story 'The Erl King.') Music, subcultures and magic entwine to create a web that will enrapture the reader just as surely as it entraps her characters.

After a tragedy, the manager of the folk-rock group Windhollow Faire comes up with a plan to keep the band away from unfavorable publicity and get them started on a so
Diane S ☔
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
A while back I fell in love with a series of books called "the Haunted Ballads", songs that took on lives and mysteries of their own, this book reminded me of those.
A group of musicians gathered by this manager to make an album of their songs at the gothic manor, Welding Hall., the album would never be releases, even though it was brilliantly done, and two of its people would disappear and never seem nor heard from again.

So what happened? Loved the strange setting, the music, the characters and
Janie C.
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I greatly enjoyed this novel, which plays out as a slow-burn of quiet horror steeped in a landscape of otherwordliness. The main attractions of Wylding Hall are its cryptic architecture and its lush and uncanny powers of nature. A sense of wonder and growing menace sends chills down the unsuspecting spine.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
High praise to Elizabeth Hand's novella "Wylding Hall". What she has done is meld the 1970's folk/rock scene with an imaginative ghost story that made this an exceptionally enjoyable read.

In an afterword by the author she elucidates where further research on the 70's British folk/rock music scene can be found and I applaud her for that further bit of information. However, judging from the appreciation and care she took to tell her story, peppering events of the time with real artists and intrica
Twerking To Beethoven
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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So cool. And refreshingly odd. "Wylding Hall" is definitely one of a kind.

Let me start by saying I love rockumnetaries. And here's a list of my all-time personal favourites:

1. The Story of Anvil,
2. The Decline of Western Civilization part II: The Metal Years,
3. Lemmy,
4. Sum of the Parts,
5. Kansas: Miracles out of Nowhere,
6. God Bless Ozzy Osbourne,
7. This is It,
8. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (for the record, I can't fucking stand Metallica, I have no clue why they are so successful, con
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you have ever followed a folk group or rock band in the early 70s, a band that went through some strange days in those strange but exciting times, you will very likely enjoy this book. If you have ever been caught up following any music group during your life, a group of mere mortals that you truly loved but then they simply faded from sight, then this book will probably fill some of those empty spaces.

Set in 1972, the members of an acid folk band are sent to Wylding Hall by their manager to
WYLDING HALL is the first book I have ever read by author Elizabeth Hand. My immediate impression was that I simply loved her writing style. Although this book is told through the point-of-view of multiple characters, even in "their voices'" her prose shone through. The story is told through a series of interviews, of sorts, with the individual members of a band--"Windhollow Faire"--and their manager, Tom Haring. Though it is implied that each person's recounting of their story was isolated from ...more
i listened to this amazing book. this wasn't the first book i had listened to that used this format but i still had trouble keeping the band members straight. even with that little bit of confusion, i loved this book. i listened/read this with a friend. turns out most of the folk songs mentioned in this book are real. i loved that so much!
Elizabeth Hand does such an amazing job of creating atmosphere for Wylding Hall. i would love to visit the manor house even after reading this book. The char
Chris Berko
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Just enough explanation for it to make sense but not so much you feel you know exactly what happened. i really enjoyed the interview style of this book and think it fit in how this story should be told.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fantasy, horror
I wanted to like this book more than I did, though that's not to say that I didn't enjoy it. I thought it evoked the early 70's folk rock era very well (I couldn't help but play my copy of Jethro Tull's 'Songs from the Wood' several times while I was reading it) and the story itself, with the interweaving of a magical summer retreat melded with a slowly encroaching supernatural element, was well done overall, but I think I was just expecting a bit more given the relatively gushing praise here on ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
The members of a British folk band are spending the summer at Wylding Hall, composing music for the next album. But there is something mysterious with the manor and the group's lead singer, Julian Blake disappears within the manor and is never seen again.

Many years later the surviving musicians and people that knew them when they were at Wylding Hall will tell their story to a documentary filmmaker. Will Julian Blake's fate finally be revealed?

I found this book to be intriguing and the story was
This was my first book by Elizabeth Hand and she wrote a haunting ghost story that just sweeps you away.

The story is set in the early 70's of a rock/folk band that decides to spend time in a old manor called Wylding Hall which is rumored to be haunted. Each character has their own view point of what transpired in the manor while they stayed there. The author used each chapter for each character to explain their side of the story, so sometimes it became confusing as to what was going on with the
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was really good. An acid folk band is sent by their manager to a big, old manor house in Hampshire, England, to write songs for their second album. It's the 1970s, and the band members are all young musicians. Elizabeth Hand has each band member, and a few other characters, provide their perspectives on the events leading up to the disappearance of the band's guitarist (who is also one of the songwriters). The whole book plays out like a series of interviews, or reminiscences, of each chara ...more
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it

Creepy Tale of An English Acid Folk Band in 1972

I've been a big fan of Liz Hand's work for years now. She's written wonderful tales in several genres--crime/horror, fantasy, science fiction, and unclassifiable stories that are a mix of several genres.

So I jumped at the chance to get a free version of this short novella from NetGalley. And it's edited by the legendary Ellen Datlow, so what more could one ask for?

Hand delivers a suitably creepy fantasy story here.

However, I found the ending a bi
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bill by: Char
Shelves: favorites, horror
Just an outstanding little novel.

This will not appeal to those of the thriller ilk, there are no silly chase scenes or climatic explosions. No, this is much more unsettling.

Wylding Hall is a slow burn of a haunt, and therefore the type of story that fits right in my wheelhouse. Combine this with the fact that it centers around the members of a folk-rock band from the early 70s and mix in everything that goes with that, playing LPs, smoking hash, and putting a new album together, well, this just
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've liked everything I've read by Elizabeth Hand. Now I'm going to have to read all the ones I own and haven't read. I looked on I Tunes for Windhollow Faire. Not really but she made the band so real! Highly recommended.
Adam Nevill
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really good creation of a time and milieu in British folk rock music, with an authentic folk horror haunting. Admirers of the author's long story in a similar vein - 'Near Zennor' - will probably enjoy this novella as much as I did.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told from a multitude of perspectives, interview style, this one moved fairly quickly and was a slow burn at the same time. Not sure how that worked, but that’s how it felt.

I enjoyed the writing style and the short chapters/sections kept it moving despite not having a lot of “action”. It didn’t need it. It didn’t need crazy goings on or gore to provide shock value, it is subtle and creepy and the undertones were much darker than you would expect.

Had some flashes of THoHH and HoL in it, as well,
Glen Hirshberg
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Full disclosure: Elizabeth Hand has been consistently generous and kind about for years, and I know her personally just well enough to consider her a friend, and one of the most genuine and trustworthy colleagues I've met.
But if you know me at all, you know I have a contrary streak, or at least a careful one, and I really do try never to like something because I'm supposed to, or because I like the artist as a person, or because I wish I could.
To make matters even more complicated, Liz's new boo
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
Wylding Hall is a pretty short novel with an interesting structure. It’s told as if it’s a series of interviews — possibly for radio or just for someone who would later transcribe them for a book, as they’re spontaneous and involve people revealing details they’re not sure of, or don’t want to share too widely. That in itself is fascinating: the range of narrators, the different angles on the same events, the little pieces of the puzzle. And the relationships between them revealed in the way the ...more
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If Nick Drake and Sandy Denny recorded "Liege & Lief" on the sunny lawns of Hill House, I could not love this novella any more than I do now. It's as if the author riffled my record collection, dove into my ghost story shelf and wrote this just for me.

Note to the author: Google Likky McKecknie. There's a thinly veiled sequel to be written and I believe you might do it justice.
Jessica Woodbury
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I'd been trying to get my hands on this book for a long time but for some reason it can be tricky to track down. (It does appear to have an audiobook now, which I would definitely recommend trying out though I did it in print.) This book uses an oral history style, similar to recent hit DAISY JONES AND THE SIX. And it's about a band in the 70's, also like Daisy Jones. I knew basically nothing about this book so this was quite a surprise. Not a historical gothic novel like the cover made me think ...more
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Horror Aficionados : Wylding Hall- 6/17/19 42 37 Jun 20, 2019 09:10PM  
Play Book Tag: Wylding Hall/Elizabeth Hand/5 Stars 1 14 Sep 27, 2018 12:52PM  

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A New York Times notable and multiple award– winning author, Elizabeth Hand has written seven novels, including the cult classic Waking the Moon, and short-story collections. She is a longtime contributor to numerous publications, including the Washington Post Book World and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. She and her two children divide their time between the coast of Maine and North Londo ...more

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“I should have been more frightened; that came later.” 4 likes
“Arianna simply wasn’t up to it. She had a pretty voice, she could carry a tune—that was never a problem. But she had no depth. She couldn’t interpret a song, place her stamp on it. Unlike Lesley, who fairly stomped on it! And that’s what you need in folk music. These are songs that have been around for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. They existed for centuries before any kind of recording was possible, even before people could write, for god’s sake! So the only way those songs lived and got passed on was by singers. The better singer you were, the more likely it was people were going to turn out to hear you and remember you—and remember the song—whether it was at a pub or wedding or ceilidh or just a knot of people seeking shelter under a tree during a storm. It’s a kind of time machine, really, the way you can trace a song from whoever’s singing it now back through the years—Dylan or Johnny Cash, Joanna Newsom or Vashti Bunyan—on through all those nameless folk who kept it alive a thousand years ago. People talk about carrying the torch, but I always think of that man they found in the ice up in the Alps. He’d been under the snow for 1,200 years, and when they discovered him, he was still wearing his clothes, a cloak of woven grass and a bearskin cap, and in his pocket they found a little bag of grass and tinder and a bit of dead coal. That was the live spark he’d been carrying, the bright ember he kept in his pocket to start a fire whenever he stopped. You’d have to be so careful, more careful than we can even imagine, to keep that one spark alive. Because that’s what kept you alive, in the cold and the dark. Folk music is like that. And by folk I mean whatever music it is that you love, whatever music it is that sustains you. It’s the spark that keeps us alive in the cold and night, the fire we all gather in front of so we know we’re not alone in the dark. And the longer I live, the colder and darker it gets. A song like “Windhover Morn” can keep your heart beating when the doctors can’t. You might laugh at that, but it’s true.” 2 likes
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