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The Willows

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  4,399 Ratings  ·  417 Reviews
Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951) was one of the all-time great supernatural writers, and "The Willows" is his masterpiece, praised as one of the greatest horror stories ever written. This edition adds a new introduction by John Gregory Betancourt. H. P. Lovecraft, in his essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature," wrote: "Less intense than Machen in delineating the extremes o ...more
Paperback, 92 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Wildside Press (first published 1907)
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(showing 1-30)
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Stephen
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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 poignanc
...more
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
Henry Avila
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 througho ...more
Lyn
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
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
...more
Greg
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, teh-weird
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
Maciek
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,
...more
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
Um. This one is hard to decide on rating-wise.

Pros:

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
...more
Frogy (Ivana)
Vendigo 4*
Vrbe 5*
Silazak u Egipat 4*
Ivan
Vendigo 4 stars
The Willows 5 stars
Descent to Egypt 4 stars
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
Bokeshi
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review Orfelinovog izdanja:

Vendigo - 4*
Priča koja otvara zbirku vodi nas u divljine Kanade i služi se motivom iz folklora severnoameričkih indijanaca (pardon, starosedelaca). Budući da se Vendigo posebno povezuje s kanibalizmom, očekivao sam da će priča krenuti u tom pravcu i donekle sam se razočarao što se to nije desilo, ali Blekvud je takav majstor laganog građenja atmosfere da sam ubrzo zaboravio na sopstvena očekivanja i prepustio se mračnoj magiji njegove proze. Doduše, kada je jedan od li
...more
Manju
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
J.G. Keely
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
Rachel
Um so this was kinda the scariest thing I've ever read.
Lou
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kimberly
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. :)**
Arah-Lynda
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:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Lena
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 100-or-less

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
...more
Donna
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
...more
Michael
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2010, review
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
...more
Jillian Haas
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jillian by: Dylan
Shelves: kindle, classics, 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
Sean
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Doug H
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Delaware river is right outside my front window and I've experienced true terror many times in the past several years. We lived here peacefully for 15 years before the monster arrived. Some people don't believe in the monster, but all of us that live here know first hand that it is very real.

The monster turned what used to be a somewhat predictable 50 year flood cycle into a very real and unpredictable threat that always lurks in the background. The monster's name is Climate Change. We've e
...more
Kim
I just finished reading The Willows by Algernon Blackwood. It was originally published as part of his 1907 collection The Listener and Other Stories. My problem with the "story" has nothing to do with it, it has to do with what it is. It's been on one of my to read lists for some time and I always thought - when I thought of it at all - as a novel. I assumed some day while wandering through a used book store I would come across this 300 or so page book and finally own a copy. However, that never ...more
Jason
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2011



5 Short Stars

  This is classic horror at it's finest. It truly amazes me that this was written over 100 years ago. Written by a man that lived in a very different time from us today. Yet, amazingly, even if we take away all  the advancements in science, strip away all of our technologies, and rid ourselves of all our modern conveniences, we will find that we have not changed much as a people.  This story is still relevant today. It is easy for us to relate with the two men as they go through thi
...more
Rebecca McNutt
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.
Tristram
Otterworldly

When I learnt that H.P. Lovecraft praised Algernon Blackwood’s story The Willows as the finest tale in weird fiction, I braced myself for a plethora of “eldritches” being hurled at me out of a nearly dialogue-less text whose major horror would consist in the compilation of ominous adjectives. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised for what I read really made my blood run cold because Blackwood proves a master of creating atmosphere and of conjuring up a feeling of indefinite terror.

The Will
...more
Shaun
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
"After leaving Vienna, and long before you come to Budapest, the Danube enters a region of singular loneliness and desolation, where its waters spread away on all sides regardless of a main channel, and the country becomes a swamp for miles upon miles, covered by a vast sea of low willow-bushes. On the big maps this deserted area is painted in a fluffy blue, growing fainter in color as it leaves the banks, and across it may be seen in large straggling letters the word Sumpfe, meaning marches.

In
...more
Gwynhwyfar
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
People often ask what "The scariest book" is, expecting something about ghosts (not scary to me, unless you are talking about "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson), vampires (anything with a long-running TV show...well, not scary, if it ever was) or werewolves. No. They're just funny to me.

What about beings from another dimension who trap you on a crumbling island, invade your mind and your friend's mind, make willows move without wind, try to crush you in your tent at night and send
...more
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The Bookhouse Boys: Halloween read: "The Willows" 23 13 Nov 06, 2015 09:07AM  
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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 in ...more
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“When common objects in this way be come charged with the suggestion of horror, they stimulate the imagination far more than things of unusual appearance; and these bushes, crowding huddled about us, assumed for me in the darkness a bizarre grotesquerie of appearance that lent to them somehow the aspect of purposeful and living creatures. Their very ordinariness, I felt, masked what was malignant and hostile to us.” 27 likes
“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.” 9 likes
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