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The House of the Seven Gables

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  34,307 ratings  ·  2,202 reviews
The sins of one generation are visited upon another in a haunted New England mansion until the arrival of a young woman from the country breathes new air into mouldering lives and rooms. Written shortly after The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables re-addresses the theme of human guilt in a style remarkable in both its descriptive virtuosity and its truly modern ...more
Paperback, Norton Critical Edition, 225 pages
Published August 8th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published March 1851)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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 ·  34,307 ratings  ·  2,202 reviews


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Kim
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh-at-you, cultured
OHMYFREAKIN'GAWD.


Why the hell did I pick this up again? Life's too short, you say? You have 200+ other books on your 'to read' shelf and this was sucking your will to read? Give it up! You're right... all of it... and my answer is... my excuse being... because I'm freakin' stubborn. Its Hawthorne . I mean how much more New Englandy can you get? I couldn't just--- give up... I'd be betraying my countryman...


Whatever.


For a few years, in my younger days, I worked down the street from the House o
...more
Henry Avila
The illustrious Pyncheon family had quite a useful reign, (but that was long ago) its founder Col.Pyncheon a stout, merciless Puritan and able soldier, helped wipe out the scourge the evil threat of the abominable witches, in the honorable Salem trials of 1692. For his just reward he happened by pure accident, to take over the property of old Matthew Maule. Still a splendid , beautiful area the perfect place to set his building the magnificent Seven Gables,
the Colonel's new mansion for his noble
...more
Werner
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of 19th-century classics
Shelves: classics, books-i-own
Note, March 17, 2018: I edited this again slightly, just to change the formatting of a long quotation.

Note, May 14, 2016: I edited this review just now to make a slight factual correction.

During the Salem witch hysteria of 1692, when real-life accused witch Sarah Good was about to hanged, she pointed at one of the witch hunters, Rev. Nathaniel Noyes, who was looking on approvingly, and shouted, "I'm no more a witch than you are, and if you murder me, God will give you blood to drink!" (an allusi
...more
Alan Fay
Dec 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
This is the worst book ever written in the English language that is somehow celebrated against far superior novels from the same era, somehow earning him enough respect to have his crusty face emblazoned onto the Library of Congress.

If the story were to take place in modern day Atlanta, it would be about some inbred, old money steel magnolia losing her shit up in Buckhead, and dragging her family down with her while she squanders what little remains of their inheritance on palm readers and telem
...more
Brett C
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually enjoyed this one. Nathaniel Hawthorne has a unique way of writing and I think it he's hit or miss. For instance I didn't care for 'The Scarlett Letter' but I really liked 'Young Goodman Brown'. This story explored themes of guilt and generational sin. I felt all the characters had connectedness yet they were all trying to either run away from each other and their past sins/guilt.

I enjoyed the darker gothic tone of the story. The dark and shadowy house played a major role and even acte
...more
WILLIAM2
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19-ce, us, fiction
This narrative, published in 1850, starts with a preface by Hawthone explaining his concept of the Romance, which is to be distinguished from the Novel because it provides the writer with greater latitude to takes risks. The Novel is somehow more straightforward, more conservative, less flexible as a vehicle for experimentation.

The first chapter gives us the backstory in a kind of lump sum. Most contemporary novelists probably write such a backstory but often cut it, since, lacking action and ch
...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
A clueless group here in goodreads.com made this this its book of the month read under the "Horror" genre when there is no horror in it. The author called it, instead, a "Romance" but there is no romance in it, either, except a brief declaration of love for each other of two protagonists towards the end with all its unmistakable phoniness ("How can you love a simple girl like me?" Duh, all men profess to love simple girls!).

This is actually a sex book written under the atmosphere of sexual repre
...more
Chrissie
ETA: A VERY SHORT REVIEW
First the book was difficult because of dense language. Then the language lightened up and I could enjoy parts. At the end it went rapidly downhill, being slapstick in style. I could have saved myself a lot of time and just written this as my review.

************************

“Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in th
...more
Teresa
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars for first read; 3.5 for second

In late September I toured the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts. Our guide, a knowledgeable and entertainingly wry young man, spoke of two additions made to the house after the woman who bought it decided to turn it into a tourist attraction: a room to emulate Hepzibah’s little shop and a secret stairway not mentioned in the text that Clifford must’ve used to be able to suddenly appear the way he does. The latter intrigued me since I didn’t
...more
John Anthony
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have read and re-read this many times.

“...the act of the passing generation is the germ which may and must produce good or evil fruit, in a far distant time”.

Thus speaks Hawthorne in the course of his book and to a large extent this summarises the theme and plot of the story.

The book is a natural progression from his previous work, The Scarlet Letter, almost an updated (by 150-200 years) sequel to it. Hawthorne began it a mere 6 months after the publication of The Scarlet Letter. Here he show
...more
Clif Hostetler
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novel
The House of the Seven Gables begins with a preface by the author that identifies the work as a romance, not a novel. That may be the author's preference, but I think most romance fans will be disappointed if they read this book. The book is a classic by a famous American author, so it deserves to be read. Once you finish the book and look over the complete plot, you can see how romantic love has healed a 200-year family curse. Therefore, in that regard it is a romance. However, the experience o ...more
Janet
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I adore this book. I recall reading it for the first time in my twenties, picking it up at random and being amazed how lively and picturesque the writing was, so different from the dreary Scarlet Letter I remembered from high school. The decline of the Pyncheon family after the curse of old man Maule, a fiercely independent man who’d staked a claim on land and a certain well which the progenitor of the Pyncheon clan, the old Puritan, desired to have for his own. Eventually he'd had Maule hung fo ...more
Shaina
Oh Nathaniel Hawthorne, I respect you, your time, your life, and your day, but reading one of your sentences in your carefully, long-winded, written stories wears me out. KO
😵
One of these days I'll make it though, Mr Hawthorne ....
J
Mar 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
I'm so glad you're dead, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

So this is a classic horror novel in which nothing at all happens for a few hundred pages except the description of some house, an old hag selling oatmeal, and some guy who may or may not have hypnotized the other chick who's boarding there. There might be something scary but I was too busy falling asleep to notice. If Hawthorne were alive, he'd be a zombie, which I'd totally be okay with because then he could get shot in the head by zombie experts. T
...more
Jr Bacdayan
… for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation… Exodus 20:5

It has always been a wonder for me why punishment should be as such. Why is this idea of making descendants suffer for their forefather’s mistakes so recurring in literature? Including this passage from the bible, there are countless other works which involve this sad practice; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables is one of the more renowned ca
...more
Shawn
Jul 30, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: few
This book dares you to read it. I hadn't thought about putting it up here, because, in fact, I have never finished it. I have the distinction of having had the book assigned to me no less than three times in various college courses, and never once read the whole thing.

The problem is I do not care about a single character in this novel. A rich family is cursed because they screwed over a poor family? Great. Where's the conflict? I hate rich people, and didn't want to see them redeemed.

The Daguer
...more
Darinda
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A classic by an American novelist. I've wanted to add more classics into my reading schedule, and recently came across this one. Unfortunately, I found it too dry and slow paced. It was very detailed and full of symbolism. One that is probably used a lot in classes to illustrate imagery and symbolism in writing, but not an especially enjoyable read.
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
An old US colloquial house with seven gables that seem to be mocking heaven. Seven main characters. The old ugly Hepzibah Pyncheon running a candy shop to earn a living for herself and her war-torn brother Clifford Pyncheon. Her face is ugly because she has to squint to see. She needs to wear eye-glasses but she is so poor that she cannot afford to have one. So customers are few except the young adorable boy Ned Higgins who loves gingerbread cookies that he comes back again and again to the cand ...more
J.G. Keely
May 26, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hawthorne is the equivalent of nudging someone and winking without actually thinking of anything interesting, risque, beautiful, or even useful. It is sad that a man with such a voluminous writing ability was seemingly devoid of any notion of what to do with it.
Quirkyreader
I’ll admit that I am not a big fan of some of Hawthorne’s writing. At the beginning of the book it was slow going and hard for me to get into. But I stuck it out.

The things I did like about the story were the gothic undertones. If Hawthorne had focused more on those, I might have liked the story better.

I am not giving up on Hawthorne yet. Eventually I will get to the “Marbel Faun”.
Jason Pettus
Jan 14, 2008 rated it liked it
(My full review of this book is much larger than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read 100 supposed "classics" for the first time, then write reports on whether or not I think they deserve the label

Book #2: House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The story in a nutshell:
Like any good horror story, the spooky House of the Seven Gables actually tells two stories at onc
...more
Bruce
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hawthorne labels his work a Romance rather than a novel, thus giving himself permission to mix an element of the “Marvellous” into the narrative. The work itself begins with sprinkled oddities - a hint of witchcraft and necromancy, a mysterious and possibly supernatural death, the presence of a perpetual family curse, a puzzling mirror rumored to show unusual characteristics, a house itself that is personified. Hawthorne’s language is exquisite, very early 18th century-ish, almost courtly, certa ...more
Stephen Robert Collins
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was very surprised recently when The Northern Echo in Darlington in Memories had heard of Hawthorn but could not name a single book by him .This embracing as got my copy free with a box of household matches which goes show free gifts can be great.
I don't think the author who is long dead would been very pleased to find that his book was give away.
A ghost story with love twist like lot of classic American book has been forgotten as it not been on the TV or movie for years & into day is forgot.
...more
Stuart
Oct 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another "great American novel" that really is one of the Great American Novels, this book is a surprisingly quick read, by turns charming and creepy, with a small but excellently drawn cast of characters ranging from the comically tragic but dignified Hepzibah, to the gracefully mysterious Holgrave. An unexpected plot twist at the beginning of the book's final third leads to two chapters of excellent writing, one detailing Clifford and Hepzibah's flight on a train and the almost psychotic breakd ...more
Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tristram Shandy
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fervent penitents
A Never-Ending Story

Whereas Hawthorne, in The House of the Seven Gables, wanted to imply that greed and dishonesty, following their selfish ends with the help of established power, may well be said to create a sense of guilt which will stretch over and deform several generations, thus beginning a never-ending story of vice, uneasiness and retribution, reading the novel (or, as the author will have it, the Romance) itself soon seemed like a futile attempt at emulating Sisyphos to me. To be sure,
...more
John David
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
This review contains spoilers.

I have a vague memory of reading “The Scarlet Letter” sometime in middle school, and coming away feeling like you would expect after you’d read a novel about Puritan repression (that’s all I thought it was about at the time). “The House of the Seven Gables” was like finding a Hawthorne I’d never known before – one of ghosts, the eternal return of historical memory, and high Gothic romance. This time, it reminded me more of Horace Walpole and Matthew Lewis than it di
...more
Obsidian
Nov 16, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Please note that I gave this book half a star and rounded it to 1 star on Goodreads.

Bah. Bah a thousand times. I have no idea why I started reading this. I think for the Halloween Book Bingo and I ended up switching it out. This thing was painful to read. I don't even know what to tell you besides if you must read this, just pace yourself since trying to force read this thing was not fun at all. At least the last 10-15 pages were just about Project Gutenberg though. I am going to complain though
...more
Katy
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
Not going to be a favorite. A lot of words for not much plot.
Ross Blocher
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was not on my radar until my wife and I were visiting Salem, Massachusetts, and she asked to see the eponymous House of the Seven Gables. As it turns out, Nathaniel Hawthorne did visit the house in question, but it did not have 7 gables at the time, and was probably one of a few structures that served as inspiration for the book. Regardless, the delightful tour inspired me to pick this up.

Hawthorne has constructed a story with small autobiographical flourishes. His own great-great-gran
...more
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history.

Shortly after graduating from Bowdoin College, Hathorne changed his name to Hawthorne. Hawthorne anonymously published his first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, in 1828. In 1837, he published Twice-Told T
...more

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