D.M.'s Reviews > The Fall of the House of Usher & Other Stories

The Fall of the House of Usher & Other Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
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May 14, 2011

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Well, that was a long, hard slog through a broad range of fiction, but it's finally over. And with it, I'm proud to say, I've completed my stack of classic fiction from the Great Writers Library! Thenk yew, thenk yew.
This book is probably the first time I've read Poe since high school (aside from occasionally running into The Raven). I saved it until last in this stack of books I've been reading, because I expected to really enjoy it. I was disappointed. Poe's painfully purple style and last-three-words twist endings clearly had a huge influence on the awful way I write, and were most likely The Shit to high-school Twilight-Zone-fan me, but I've definitely changed since then. Now, his writing is just painful, his casual references are long past dated and the way he delivers those twists is utterly comical. There are stories here ranging from classics ('Murders in the Rue Morgue,' 'Gold Bug,' 'Cask of Amontillado') to ones I'd never heard of ('William Wilson,' the dreadful and largely pointless 'Balloon Hoax'), from the best-known gothic-horror work like 'Fall of the House of Usher' to kind-of-funny humour writings like 'Some Words With a Mummy.' So, Poe's probably pretty well represented here.
Having read such a broad representation of his stuff now, I'm certain of one thing: I'll never do it again. I may hit a story or poem (his poetry is entirely unrepresented here) now and then, but I can't see myself going through another entire collection of his. This was, all things considered, a good collection of his short fiction, and I would recommend it to someone wanting to take the Poe plunge. I just wouldn't recommend reading him in the first place.

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