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House of Windows

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  626 ratings  ·  82 reviews
When a young writer finds himself cornered by a beautiful widow in the waning hours of a late-night cocktail party, he seeks at first to escape, to return to his wife and infant son. But the tale she weaves, of her missing husband, a renowned English professor, and her lost stepson, a soldier killed on a battlefield on the other side of the world, and of phantasmal visions ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Night Shade (first published April 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  626 ratings  ·  82 reviews


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J.K. Grice
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
After reading, and greatly enjoying John Langan's THE FISHERMAN, I was looking forward to reading his first novel, HOUSE OF WINDOWS.

The story involves a married couple, Roger (age 65) and Veronica (age 26) Croydon. Another central character is Roger's grown son from his first marriage, Ted. Ted is a special forces soldier who is killed by an RPG in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. The Croydon's are literary professors, living in Huguenot, NY and abiding in a huge mansion known as The Belvedere H
...more
Paul
Dec 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel centers around Veronica (young, beautiful grad student) and Roger (65 yr old divorcee, well-established and respected Dickens scholar/professor, who’s son Ted had joined the Army and is killed in Afghanistan) and their complex relationship/marriage, the relationships they have/had with their parents, and ultimately the relationships they have with themselves as well. Langan isn’t interested in heroes, and Roger and Veronica are painfully human, and he has the courage in a first novel t ...more
S.P.
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
English professor and well-known Dickens scholar Roger Croydon has disappeared. The tale his wife Veronica offers to a young horror writer, over late-night glasses of wine at the home of an acquaintance, is intended to describe the circumstances of that disappearance. In fact, no final explanation may be possible. The answers lie in the complex geometric structure of the house occupied by the Croydons, and in the harsh words spoken by Roger to his only son, Ted, just prior to Ted's deployment to ...more
Frank Errington
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
House of Windows by John Langan is a bit of an anomaly for me, a foray into the world of literary horror. I tend to lean toward books written in the vernacular of the common people, like myself. And then I go and use a word like vernacular, seems John's work is already having an effect on me.

House of Windows is a story told by Veronica Croyden and is mostly about the events leading to her husband's disappearance. It's a ghost story, of sorts. Or at least a haunting since you could say both Ver
...more
Phillip Smith
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An awesome 4.5. I don't think I've read a haunted house book as ambitious and "out there" as this. ...more
Tom A.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A confounding, literate, and yet subtly scary book.

John Langan. I don’t know what to expect when I read him. Would the tale be a terrifying second-person point-of-view shocker like Mother of Stone ? Would it be a complete mess like the pretentious and obtuse The Shallows ? I would not know since Langan is considered by his peers and critics as the more experimental among the new weird fiction authors; he will always find a way to deconstruct a horror trope or an idea and then apply a relatively
...more
Orrin Grey
I'm a big fan of John Langan's short fiction, so I was really looking forward to his debut novel. And it seems a bit much to say that I was disappointed, but I didn't enjoy House of Windows as much as I'd expected. Maybe it's because Langan's style works better for me in a shorter form, or maybe it's just because this particular story didn't grab me quite as much.

Which isn't to say that there's not a lot to like here. The haunting itself is often marvelously portrayed, and I love the ambivalence
...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
This is one of the great horror novels.
It is full of what has gone before it - thoughts, themes and reflections from and of Shakespeare, both Jameses, Hawthorne, Leiber, Emily Dickinson and more. It's also a story that patterns itself around current events - around 9/11 and the war on terror - like scar tissue around a civilizational wound. It's an indelible, essential meditation on generational legacies, on spirits, places and the spirit of places. It's sometimes maddeningly dilatory in its pur
...more
Dorothy Emry
On StaticMultimedia.com I gave this 2 1/2 stars. Below are some highlights from that review:

A convoluted, psychological ghost story, John Langan’s House of Windows may hold your interest if your taste runs to literary novels (or if you are a staunch fan of the works of Charles Dickens, which eventually become integral to the plot). If you are looking for an edgy, chill-filled horror novel, look elsewhere.

A sick house, a painter whose work can reshape reality, special places that can act as port
...more
Richard Gerlach
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Langan is one of my favorite voice in horror literature. He often says that he's too literary for the genre publishers, and too genre for the literary publishers. However, he's just right for me. I will say this novel isn't as good as The Fisherman, but it's still a fantastic read.

This story concerns Veronica, a beautiful grad student in her mid to late 20's, and her husband, an established 65 year old Charles Dickens professor. We find out at the beginning of the novel that he disappeared
...more
Leah Bayer
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooktober
3.5 stars

I love John Langan, so it pains my heart to give this book anything less than 5 stars. The Fisherman is one of the best horror novels I've ever read, and The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies is a masterclass in short storytelling. House of Windows is an earlier work, and it shows.

The intro mentions that this was originally meant to be a novella, and I think it would have been MUCH more successful in a shorter format. Because Windows' weakness is its length. It just
...more
Teo
May 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As other reviewers have pointed out, there's a lot to like in John Langan's debut novel. But unlike his short fiction, "House of Windows" leaves a lot to be desired, too.

We follow a beautiful widow Veronica Croydon as she recounts the story of her older husband Roger's disappearance to a friend and horror writer. Roger, a stubborn but respected college professor has a falling out with his only son after he divorces his wife for his former student, Veronica. In the heat of the moment, he throws a
...more
Marie
Not sure what to make of this book and unfortunately I am having to put it down as a do not finish. It sounded good as it has been on my tbr for awhile, but I could never really get into the story - there is no atmosphere and just could not connect with the characters. Not rating it as it doesn't even deserve one star. Kind of sad in a way as I was hoping for better and all I got was disappointment. :( ...more
Justin
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, gothic
The best part (and best writing) of this book was the back cover description. As a lover of haunted house and ghost stories, I was excited to read this. The story follows Veronica who tells a writer the story of her marriage leading to the disappearance of her husband Roger. Unfortunately the promising elements of this book suffer from the choice in structure and style. While I think Dickens fans could appreciate the references (as if making references to authors equates this to being literary), ...more
Shorty
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: it-was-ok, 2018, ebook, owned
This novel is supposed to be “tense and frightening.....”. It’s not, really. There are long periods of such triviality that I became very bored. These are interspersed between some delightfully but slightly tense moments that didn’t last long, didn’t ratchet up the horror, or even sustain themselves through the novel. So I had a very difficult time keeping my attention on this storyline, and wanting to finish it.
I wish I hadn’t fallen for the blurb about the novel, and had bought it, now. I pref
...more
Randy Money
Excellent merging of Lovecraftian horror with ghost/haunted house story. An aging professor and his young wife deal with a house that isn't quite what it appears, the ghost of his son killed in war, and a sense of large, inimical presences hovering close by. The novel is mainly in the wife's voice and she is not an immediately likable character but if you stick with it, she becomes understandable, her actions not always wise or right, but her courage respectable.

For me, this is one of the sadly
...more
Adam
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird, ebook, horror
I never saw much buzz about this even after the popularity of The Fisherman, and I think I can see why that is. Langan is one of my favorite Weird Horror writers, and pretty much everyone he's written is worthwhile. House of Windows is no different, but it doesn't necessarily stand out among the best of the newest generation of the genre. If you've only read early 20th century Weird like Lovecraft and Hope Hodgson, this definitely might wow you. The premise is familiar, reminiscent of plenty of ...more
Chris Cangiano
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird-fiction, horror
John Langan’s House of Windows is a great piece of weird fiction. The novel itself consists of a woman telling an acquaintance the “true” story of the disappearance of her much older professor husband and the weird circumstances surrounding it. Is any of it true or is she a supremely unreliable narrator? If it is true what is the source of the unusual happenings; is it a vengeful ghost, a haunted house, an evil entity fulfilling the pact surrounding a curse? Langan leaves it tantalizing opaque. ...more
Robert
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a slow burn, but ultimately worthwhile. This is especially true if you are a father.
Martin Rose
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic, horror
I was lucky enough to be able to hear John Langan read one of his short works in person; and I have to confess, I am a sucker for a haunted house story and thus I found myself holding a copy of House of Windows.

This is one of those books whose mastery and power creeps upon you slowly until you're subsumed without realizing -- a quicksand novel. You're in and then you can't get out. I snarfed this down in a week but actual reading time was closer to several hours. Two hundred pages gone in one si
...more
Christopher
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I can come right out and say it: John Langan is so far my favorite living author. He can make the most tired of worn out tropes fresh and invigorating. He can move you without corny sentiment. He can terrify, a rare sensation for my jaded horror-saturated reading soul.

This is my least favorite work of his, and the last of his thus far published works for me to read (that I know of). It is the first time I am giving something written by him less than a full 5 star rating. It was still an immense
...more
Lisbeth
This is really more three and a half star, but not quite a four.

Everything I read by John Langan will forever be compared to The Fisherman and though well written, House of Windows is regrettably not as original and poetic.

House of Windows is in many ways a classical haunted house story, starting off soft and building up to be quite chilling but not overly surprising.

The second half of the book is in my opinion by far the best, I found it highly entertaining and went through it with only a few s
...more
Waffles
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the author's collection Mr. Gaunt. As a consequence, I had very high expectations for this novel. I was disappointed. This goes to show that novel-length horror is almost an oxymoron. This bokk did not scare me. ...more
Eddie Generous
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A weighty and densely-spilled haunting (one unlike I've ever read before). Enthralling. Thorough and far-reaching. ...more
Megan Hex
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very much the kind of horror story I like--slow-burn, with a meaty backstory of human drama. Definitely looking for more by this author.
The Gehenna Post
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In today’s day and age, it is difficult to steer from the norm, especially in something as near and dear to the public’s hearts as literature. The times change, and so do the popular uses of language and storytelling. Though modern readers relentlessly voice their cravings for something original, when they are presented with a product that is innovative, the hivemind usually withdraws in shock and resentment. John Langan’s House of Windows does something that a plethora of novels have failed to. ...more
mary
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, supernatural
Quotes that interested me:

the word “weird.” Its roots are in the Anglo-Saxon “wyrd,” which most translators render as “fate,” and which isn’t completely accurate. I did all this research, cracked open old dictionaries you had to blow the dust off, and I discovered that what “wyrd” actually means is something like “the way
things had to be because that’s the way they are.” It’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around, at first. If things hadn’t been meant to be the way they are, then they would hav
...more
Katya Wagner
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
inciminci
Honestly, I'm a little underwhelmed by House of Windows, mainly because of me not being able to warm up to the pacing and to not liking the narrator, young grad student Veronica whose husband is missing without a trace, at all. In a frame story Veronica tells a colleague and friend of hers the events leading to the day he disappeared, starting with the very beginning of their relationship, when Roger was still married with a son, whom he basically leaves for Veronica.
Having a similar family his
...more
Jennifer Collins
If Jane Eyre were a horror novel, or Poe were transmitted into this century, or Lovecraft attempted his own version of a novel-length domestic drama...well, you might end up with this strange strange ride of a novel.

In the tradition of Poe and Lovecraft, Langan's novel is a beautifully crafted work of the supernatural. His meshing of literary awareness and technique with some use of conventions of horror does take some getting used to, but the result is fairly entrancing. This can't simply be ca
...more
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John Langan is the author of two novels, The Fisherman (Word Horde 2016) and House of Windows (Night Shade 2009), and two collections of stories, The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies (Hippocampus 2013) and Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters (Prime 2008). With Paul Tremblay, he co-edited Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters (Prime 2011). He's one of the founders of the Shirle ...more

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