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The Horror at Red Hook

3.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,325 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Circles and pentagrams loomed on every hand, and told indubitably of the strange beliefs and aspirations of those who dwelt so squalidly here. In the cellar, however, the strangest thing was found--a pile of genuine gold ingots covered carelessly with a piece of burlap, and bearing upon their shining surfaces the same weird hieroglyphics which also adorned the walls.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published January 1st 1927)
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Bill  Kerwin

This long short story—written in August of 1925 and first published in Weird Tales in 1927—is the worst Lovecraft tale that every Lovecraft fan must read. Not only is it morally suspect, suffused with nativism and darkened by racial panic, but it is also indifferently constructed, and poorly written too. Yet the fears and prejudices first unleashed and expressed most explicitly here would become the source of the cosmic terror that distinguishes his best work.

“The Horror at Red Hook”—the story o
Montzalee Wittmann
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Horror at Red Hook by H.P. Lovecraft is an audio book I requested and the review is voluntary. I did like the story, not as much as I did when I was a teen. I am sure this was terrifying in the late 1920's when it was first published. It was creepy now, I can't imagine then when they weren't shown realistic horror movies and shows daily like we are. I thought the narration was very good and added to the story. I forgot to add that in to my initial rating so I will add that now since this is ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
In a trial in the nameless and eldritch hereafter:

Prosecutor: Did you write the Horror at Red Hook?

Judge: You don't have to answer that question!

Lovecraft: I'll answer the question. You want answers?

Prosecutor: I think I'm entitled!

Lovecraft: You want answers?!

Prosecutor: I want the truth!

Lovecraft: You can't handle the truth! 

Son, we live in a world that needs horror, and that horror has to be written by men with guts. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lord Dunsany? I have a greater responsibility t
Jason Koivu
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Love it! I love the showing that goes on in this one!

I also love that the setting, Red Hook, is a place where Lovecraft lived for a time and hated. He regretted ever moving there and it seems like he put his emotions into crafting this horror story.

For those who haven't read The Horror at Red Hook before, I won't bother summarizing as you can read the synopsis yourself, but I wouldn't suggest it. Just dive into this one. It's not that long and it's really good. Lovecraft's use of language is eso
[Name Redacted]
This is arguably one of Lovecraft's most racist stories, born out of his increasing sense of isolation and negative impressions of immigrants while living in Brooklyn. It was this antipathy towards others that gave birth to one of my favorite songs by The Mountain Goats (cf: also: ).

Lovecraft's racism appears to be a manifestation of modern post-Enlightenment racial theory, but I think that's giving modernity enti
Caro the L. of the H.
This looks to me like something Trump's parents would read to him on a regular basis as a bedtime story. Be it true, it would explain a lot.
This was weak, weak and terrible in so many ways and not scary at all. Unless you're 7 y.o. (the age of little Donald when he heard this story for the first time). Throwing immigrants, devil worshiping, tribal magic and New York architecture into one melting pot gave an effect that makes the reader cringe. Not to mention other absurd ideas the reader is supp
Jan 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People excited about Trump's wall
Shelves: x01-january-2017
H.P. Lovecraft's influence on horror/weird fiction is undeniable. He had an amazing imagination. Too bad, because he was an absolutely awful writer and and an even worse human being. I would call this story racist shit, but that seems somewhat unfair to feces.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Oh, now I see why people are always accusing Lovecraft of being racist! And also why Victor LaValle chose this as the basis for his novella The Ballad of Black Tom because adding insult to injury none of the swarthy foreigners who so freak Lovecraft out even get names and there is like one minor speaking part. (Although I did think these were supposed to be mostly immigrants from "pagan" countries, not African-Americans? Maybe HPL doesn't have any African-American characters to rewrite.)

Even the
Bogi Takács
I read this novelette because I'm interested in reading "The Ballad of Black Tom," Victor LaValle's new novella that subverts it.

I read most of my Lovecraft in Communist and immediately post-Communist Hungary, at an age when one probably shouldn't be reading Lovecraft. This one hadn't been translated back then (I just checked and it was first published in Hungary in 1998) - you have one guess why.

Lovecraft on diversity:

"From this tangle of material and spiritual putrescence the blasphemies of an
Neko Neha (BiblioNyan)
Aug 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not a single person.
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is one of the most disgustingly racist, bigoted, pieces of shit that I have read all year. The writing is a god-awful catastrophe of "smart" words that are used to veil the grossly offensive discrimination and disrespect that is shown towards people of color, poverty, and varying religious backgrounds. I sincerely hope the rest of Lovecraft's work isn't this type of ridiculousness because if it is, then I have no idea how someone like him could be so idolized in the literary world. Unaccept ...more
Naz (Read Diverse Books)
Aug 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
If you don't want to be simultaneously bored & offended, then I suggest you avoid The Horror at Red Hook.
Andrés Diplotti
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this mostly out of curiosity, because I had learned that some of Lovecraft's most unsavoury tendences were on full display here.

The straight supernatural horror part is not exactly bad, even though it reads more as a vignette, or a description of a tableau, than a story. Funnily enough, Thomas Malone feels less of a cipher than the usual Lovecraftian protagonist, even though his characterisation stops at the facts that he's Irish and a policeman and he's interested in the Occult. The fact
Mar 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-2017
This is going to be short. This story was terrible and it has Lovecraft's racism and xenophobia on full display. I think if he could have torched New York and wiped it clean of those he saw as inferior he would have.

The Horror at Red Hook tells a story taking place in the 1920s with a New York police detective named Thomas Malone. Malone is left disturbed by an incident that left several people dead.

Lovecraft then works backwards telling how a rich and eccentric old man named Robert Suydam. Suyd
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I liked how Lovecraft included the incubus and succubus monsters. Ive never read a story that actually included them!
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
What a New York police detective Thomas F. Malone experienced, saw (or dreamed) while working on a case in Red Hook made him retire and avoid big buildings.

During one of the raids in Red Hook, some of the buildings collapsed killing many policemen, smugglers. It all connects back to an educated recluse and a folklore researcher Robert Suydam. 'Just at the time when a wave of kidnappings and disappearances spread its excitement over New York, the unkempt scholar embarked upon a metamorphosis as s
Edgar Roberts
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great story, I thought! Lovecraft uses his style of prose quite nicely in my opinion at the end and the storyline and frightful atmosphere are very well presented. Even though the key basis for this story was xenophobia, I honestly don't feel that this marred it, as most do. The racism adds something of vulgar touch to the horror in my opinion and Lovecraft can be excused for being human with faults like the rest of us :) Obviously, I'd rather he wasn't a racist, but there isn't much that I ca ...more
Catch-up review #4!

I listened to this one on Friday night as I was driving back from Philly after my business trip. It was dark, and I was alone in the car, so of course I'm like "Let's listen to some Lovecraft! :D"

I have this weird thing about Lovecraft, though. I love the IDEA of Lovecraft's horror more than I like the reality of it. I just find the writing tedious at times. It's true. I said it. He was wordy. He'd use 4 words when one would do, and for me, that just bogs things down and dist
I will do a full review. I liked this story and understand that it is a an old short horror story. I did enjoy it tho and loved the narrator Jim Donaldson - I think his voice was perfect for this.
Chakib Bahbaz
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novel is racist to a certain extent, but somehow its good.

"...and Malone could not help recalling that Kurdistan is the land of the Yezidis, last survivors of the Persian devil-worshippers." What ?!

"Suddenly the leader of the visiting mariners, an Arab with a hatefully negroid mouth, pulled forth a dirty, crumpled paper and handed it to the captain" Double What?!

The language is amazing

“In case of sudden or unexplained accident or death on my part, please deliver me or my body unquestionin
Jennifer ☼
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I'm learning that I have a thing for phosphorescent horror. I can be completely ho-hum about a book and then suddenly "Ooooh, phosphorescence. This is fantastic!".
Tom Britz
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Tom by: I plan on reading The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle, which is supposed to be an addendum to this story.
H. P. Lovecraft was a product of his time and unfortunately his time, the early 1900's were rife with racism and hatred of the unknown. I see a lot of comments that shred this story as a racist diatribe. That can also be said of a lot of the literature from that period. This comment is in no way trying to make light of the racism that is found here in this story, it's just trying to put it into a sort of perspective. Yes, H. P. Lovecraft was a racist. He was a loner brought up by a doting mother ...more
Myk Pilgrim
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Well.......that was......different.
Lovecraft's xenophibia is probably more rife in this story than any of the others i've read.
The story mostly hinges around:
"them pesky foreigners coming to 'our country' and taking our jobs and bringing their foreign ways and their different coloured skins and it's evil! evil I tells ya"
So don't say I didn't warn you.
But if you're dead set on reading it - start halfway in and you'ill skip most of the racial slurs & get straight to the hairiness. There were
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Esta vez Lovecraft no me dejó con las ganas de una resolución a sus misterios sino que se pasó de la raya u.u (ya sé, soy la gata flora). Describe todo con lujo de detalles y para mi gusto con superabundancia de adjetivos en la línea de "fétido"o "deforme", que en tanta cantidad tienen un efecto contrario, no te ayudan a imaginarte los horrores, sino que te dispersan (o al menos eso me pasó a mi).
Otra cosa que no me gustó es lo terriblemente racista que es este cuento, pero de nuevo, me alejaba
Baal Of
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror, weird
This one exhibits all the same problems as much of Lovecraft's other works, with some particularly egregious racism on display. However, the descriptions of the rituals are pretty good. I keep hovering around a two and a half stars. I think I'm getting a bit of Lovecraft fatigue, and need to set the complete works aside for a bit.
Read this because I was about to start Victor LaValle's new book, which I understand to be in part a response to the racism in this book, which turns out to be extreme. I cannot recommend it except as a case study in how "everyday" racism and anti-immigrant bias permeate many classic texts.
Mar 07, 2015 rated it did not like it

Vocabulary-obsessed, word-happy word-splurge. Terrible. Unfocused. Thank god it was only a short story. Verbose and tedious; I like the idea of Lovecraft's work more than I enjoy reading it. Maybe these are tales better HEARD, as in: cd books or audio versions. We'll see.


Ugh, sound effects, DNF
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Hm, I think I am starting to see quite the similarities between this one and a few of Lovecraft's other work. I did not like this one very much, I was frankly waiting for it to end.
Joshua Shioshita
It doesn't seem to be too popular of an opinion, but I actually really like this story. I get all the darker subtext and understand why people hate it. I'm not going to defend it or claim that Lovecraft was a product of his age and should get a pass for his xenophobia. Racism sucks, and it's too bad that it's such an impetus for Lovecraft's work. That being said, the underlying story itself I found extremely entertaining. Weird occult practices, child abductions, strange supernatural rituals...t ...more
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2017
Well it was ok...but I should preface this with A) I’m not a horror fan, and B) I didn’t think it was really scary or even suspenseful.

I think I’m missing something essential to love these stories. Well off to read the re-interpretation and see if I enjoy that more.
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Play Book Tag: The Horror at Red Hook, by H.P. Lovecraft - 2 stars 11 13 Jan 08, 2017 02:10PM  
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Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a
“In youth he had felt the hidden beauty and ecstasy of things, and had been a poet; but poverty and sorrow and exile had turned his gaze in darker directions, and he had thrilled at the imputations of evil in the world around.” 3 likes
“To hint to unimaginative people of a horror beyond all human conception—a horror of houses and blocks and cities leprous and cancerous with evil dragged from elder worlds—would be merely to invite a padded cell instead of restful rustication, and Malone was a man of sense despite his mysticism.” 1 likes
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