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In the House in the Dark of the Woods

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,823 ratings  ·  397 reviews
"Once upon a time there was and there wasn't a woman who went to the woods."

In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she's been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
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Ida Daughters unto Devils, by Amy Lukavics! It's like Little House on the Prairie mixed with the Exorcist. Same general idea, but the horror aspect is a…moreDaughters unto Devils, by Amy Lukavics! It's like Little House on the Prairie mixed with the Exorcist. Same general idea, but the horror aspect is a bit more hard-core; it definitely leans more toward horror than fantasy.(less)

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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,823 ratings  ·  397 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Will. Leave this unrated as I will not finish after 50%. Have no idea what is going on and find I don't care enough to continue. For a while I was intrigued by the strangeness, but then it just became tiresome.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I told my man I was off to pick berries and that he should watch our son for I would be gone some good while. So away I went with a basket.

What drove me to read this book was the blurb from Brian Evenson, an author I admire, who described it as "wonderful, luminous and sly", and called it "a stunning contemporary fairy tale". And it's true - from the very first sentence we are transported into world that seems familiar at first, but soon begins to unveil itself in new, strange and disturbing way
Strange read....confusing narrative....difficult to find a focal point or become interested in a character or direction of plot. Almost called it quits a couple of times. Gave it my all though re-reading pages and chapters bc of enticing book summary depicting witchcraft in colonial New England, but a no-go and a long 224 pages for me. Honestly, no clue I was even in colonial America.

Thank you NetGalley and Little Brown and Company for the arc in exchange for my honest review.

Apr 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Absolutely Bizarre. I’m not quite sure what this all was supposed to be. Historical? Puritan/Colonial Witchcraft? Psychological horror?

It started off similar in style to Hansel and Gretel going off into the woods fetching berries and so this woman gets lost and the forest gets dark and looming and she’s thinking of “her man” and her son. All right, I got that far, but then....

The story turns abruptly and constantly, into nonsensical, confusing thoughts and actions, such as those one might exper
I'm developing a bit of a habit of reading books about witches and primeval woodland magic. In the vein of traditional, heavily symbolic folk tales about the sonorant evil that lives in the deep forest, this story is about the unstoppable transformations that happen to women when they leave their hearths. Here be magic birds, killer swarms, tepid wells, glamor magic, hags, and the blackest magic of all: memory.

While there isn't so much a "story" in these pages, there is rather an unquantifiable
Lark Benobi
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Using traditional fairy tale elements, Hunt tells a story that starts with fairy-tale calm and rapidly descends into madness and horror.

The novel strongly recalls the work of the great German Romantics, in a way I never would have guessed a modern author could evoke. One of my favorite reads of all time is Der blonde Eckbert by German Romantic author Ludwig Tieck. Hunt's short novel exploits channels of feeling that are probably instinctive in us humans, such a fear dark places and of unknown e
Jessica Sullivan
Oct 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018-read
Update: I want to clarify that this book is definitely objectively better than 1 Star. But I still hold that my experience of reading it was so disappointing that I’m sticking to this low rating.


I have no idea what I just read. Obscure fiction works for me sometimes, but this was just too much. I couldn’t wait for it to end and I’m so glad to be done with it that I can’t even be bothered to write a full review. The writing itself is good, but I hated the experience of reading this so much.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We read this one in two sittings. It's quite unlike many things we've read before. It is definitely not for the faint of heart or stomach. It is also somehow remnant of witch tales we grew up with. That's what we really loved about it. It's spooky, but also curious.
Over the last couple of months, I have been allowing my reading choices to be influenced a lot more by others - doing buddy reads and group reads, and reading based on friend recommendations - and it's been a (mostly) positive experience. Some have been duds, but some I've really enjoyed, like this book. Which is a little surprising to me, because by all accounts, I should be in the NOPE camp on this one, seeing as how I'm generally not a fan of weirdness for the sake of weirdness.

But something
Alisa (worldswithinpages)
Felt a bit disorganized and rambling which made it hard to follow. The idea behind the story was promising, but the execution was a bit lackluster.

Thank you to Little Brown for the free copy and a chance to review!
Caleb Masters
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully spooky, dreamlike treasure of a book. Positively dripping with atmosphere, Hunt's novel tells the seemingly simply story of a women getting lost in the woods in colonial New England. But the novel quickly becomes anything but ordinary, filled with fantastical images, beautiful writing, strange twists, and pervasive sense of intangible dread; 'In the House in the Dark of the Woods' is the perfect book to read by the fire on a dark night. Can't wait to revisit this again soon!
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Oh the beautiful cover, the ever-present feeling of dread, and magic derived from nature. This book was an adventure into the world of the women in the Dark of the woods. How did they get here? Why are they here? Or better yet, what have they done to get here? A story of redemption, or maybe punishment, or maybe even the power of reclamation. Witchcraft, wolves, spooky forests, and boats made of flesh & bone, this book has it all. For a dark tale that is absolutely impossible to summarize an ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was slight, and as such it was not a bad reading experience. It took me a while to cotton on to where it was going. But even when I did, I didn't fully get the point. It's eerie and atmospheric, but ultimately too vague to be satisfying.
Sometimes your girl here likes to read some random horror. Horror is, somehow, soothing for me, whether it's a quality horror movie or a horror novel. Bring it on, bring it on, bring it on. The better quality, the better. I'm not into torture porn or whatever it is the kids are calling it now. I don't care how gory a movie could be - gore does not equate quality, in my opinion. Bring on weird shit, though, I don't care, I like something that makes me wonder what I just saw or read.

This falls int
Jee Hooked On Bookz
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Riveting! Devoured this in 2 days.
You’d first meet a woman nicknamed ‘Goody‘ who would then meet Captain Jane, Eliza and Granny Someone, all of whom were witches, although one of them will claim she was not, and that she was in the woods to save lost souls, another fed on children and another seemed not to be who she claimed to be. Then there was also a mysterious character, Red Boy, whom was feared but respected by the dwellers of the woods.

It took me awhile to get into Hart’s writing style. Bu
Bill Hsu
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of my favorites of 2018 so far. The leisurely fairy-tale narrative keeps slipping. Questions are posed and shrugged off. Like in this delicious exchange:

"Once upon a time there was and there wasn't a woman who went to the woods... Now why did she go?"
"Why did she go?"
"Why did she go and what did she do?"
"Went down to the stream and took off her shoe."
"And before that?"
"Set off from her house in a bonnet blue."
"Now tell me, what did she rue?"
"What did she rue?"

I don't come across many nove
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a hallucinatory fairytale that follows a colonial woman lost in a strange forest in which dwells even stranger inhabitants. The prose is beautifully written and adds wonder to an atmosphere heavy with confusion and tension. This book isn’t for everyone as I imagine some will dislike the rambling and strange plot but personally I adored it.
Neville Longbottom
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
This confused me. A lot.

I thought it was beautifully written and had such a cool, creepy atmospheric setting… but I don’t know if I fully understand what happened in the story. Or really what the central message was.

I guess maybe give it a try if you want some beautiful writing, women going missing in creepy forests, dark magic, and a colonial New England setting.

I definitely loved the journey of reading this… but I’m still too confused by this book to give it a super higher rating.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The pages should've flown by, but the story progressed like a fairy tale, so it was pleasant to read a bit each night in between other pursuits. What comes to mind is the enchantment of the first time I read the story of Baba Yaga when I was a girl. I'll give it five stars for being out of the ordinary and a lot of fun.
May 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Didn’t dislike, but found myself disappointed; from the description, I expected a lot more from the book. I found myself uninvolved, and impatient to finish the book and move on.
A truly atmospheric tale of a young Puritan woman who finds herself lost in the woods, desperately trying to get home to her son and husband. While stumbling within the dark forest she soon encounters two strange and possibly menacing women and although little happens within the pages of this very short story, the imagery is extremely reflective of Hannah Kent. I absolutely loved the cover of this novel.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a strange, twisted little tale that had a deliciously dark ending. The story was lyrical and strange, very vague until the very end when suddenly you realize that nothing was quite as it seemed and Goody was nowhere near as good or innocent as you think and then come to see how it was all there for you since the very beginning. Yes, very good. Albeit strangely executed but entertaining and well worth the read to the finish.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, satan, fiction
Inspired take on the traditional witches in the woods story. There is a lot going on in this fairly shot novel about a Goodwife (goody) who finds herself on the other side of reality. The first half of the novel is full of unexplained happenings and frustrating wandering, but Hunt manages to wrap things up into a tight little metaphor for Hell. In many ways, I agree with Hunt's take - circular time and grotesque games are the stuff of nightmares and hellscapes more so than any snide Dante-ish co ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. Incomprehensible gibberish.
Wow, that was actually quite wicked.

Even though you don’t start connecting the dots until halfway through the book and onwards, it’s fascinating to read. It’s lyrical and exudes a silent evil in the form of domestic abuse, games where you end up bargaining more than you thought, and promises that may bite you later. I think you really enjoy it best when you don’t try to box it.

Overall, surprisingly pleased.
Wolf Ostheeren
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is very much like a delirious, feverish dream. It is strange, it is confusing, but it still makes so much sense in it's own way. I love what the author has woven from the old fairy tales, bringing them together in "why have I never thought of that before??" kind of ways. Also, I love the way it is written. Plain words brought together to surprisingly poetic sentences. Of course I might have been a little partial to it because of the Red Riding Hood references (which are not as prevaili ...more
Carrie Carter
Dec 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF. I really wanted to love this book but found it boring and confusing. About 50% of the way through I gave up.
Alyson Hagy
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strange and inventive. Perhaps not a tale for all readers since it upsets (and undermines) our expectations about linearity and suspense at almost every turn. But I found myself drawn in by Hunt's fictional world and how it presents itself as both old (Hawthorne, the Romantics, fairly tales) and new all at once. A book that takes many sly risks and provided, for me, much reward.
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
Reading a Laird Hunt novel is always an immersive experience. His writing is something that latches on and doesn't let go easily, so if you're sitting down with one of his books, you might just consider your afternoon and evening booked.

Though I think there is definitely a clear narrative to this story, I feel that this book is more about the journey, reading through the main character's experiences and fully coating yourself with the strange and unsettling rhythm and mystery of the words.

Molly Riportella
A mother’s errand turns dark and mystical in Hunt’s newest take on witches in Colonial New England. A bright-eyed Goody walks into the woods to gather berries for her husband and young son when the air turns dark. Soon our nameless protagonist is lost, and encounters a magnetic Captain Jane, a bizarre hermit named Eliza, and an ephemeral girl in a yellow dress, each one welcoming and yet exuding a cautious eagerness. Circumstances continually keep the Goody from making her way home. As the tale ...more
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Laird Hunt is an American writer, translator and academic.

Hunt grew up in Singapore, San Francisco, The Hague, and London before moving to his grandmother's farm in rural Indiana, where he attended Clinton Central High School. He earned a B.A. from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. He also stud
“There are no poor men. Not even among the wretches.” 0 likes
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