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Burnt Offerings (1973)

por Robert Marasco

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5712842,201 (3.63)31
One of the scariest haunted house novels ever written, "Burnt Offerings" chronicles the story of Ben and his family renting a house out in the New York countryside, and the horror that unfolds there. Contains new artwork, film stills, reproductions of movie posters, and more.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 28 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Considering this was first published in the 70s(?), this holds up pretty well if you squint. It's a haunted house story more in the vein of House of Leaves or Amityville Horror and less like, say, Rebecca or The Shining. That is, something is terribly wrong with the house itself vs. an entity haunting it per se.

This book may have been stronger if the main character 'felt' the weight of her choices more and if they all were more likable and relatable. That is, if there had been more investment in the marriage, family, or mother/child relationship so that there's more impact and emotion driving the plot/climax. There's a sort of, I dunno, simmering ennui to their lives and I didn't find myself particularly invested in what happens. But, maybe that's of its time - and captured the 70s well.

This is subtly scary - far more unsettling than terrifying. There's no gore, no jump scares, no drama - it builds slowly and nothing much happens until the end when something does. I've not seen the movie, but there are a couple of scenes in the book that I could see being standout scenes in film.

This has been on my list awhile as a grandaddy in the genre, I finally got around to it, and although it wasn't a favorite, and won't be a re-read, I'm not disappointed I did. ( )
  angiestahl | Jan 22, 2024 |
A skillful writer, but a boring story teller. The pacing is agonizingly slow. The characters are one dimensional and formulaic. Marion a housewife who constantly spends outside her means gets the house of her dreams. Ben a stick in the mud pragmatist has to pretend he is OK with everything. And their only precocious child David likes endangering himself. Their only "character traits" are just vehicles to move the plot along. Marion, the housewife is obsessed with making this obviously evil,decrepit house feel like her own. Ben, the pragmatist tries to dissuade her from the allusion. David is kindling waiting to be tossed into the fire. Technically they all are. The sense of ominous, foreboding supernatural dread lurking behind every corner I was expecting was non-existent. The ending was uneventful. I'm really glad word runner was available otherwise it would have been a even more difficult to finish without it. ( )
  OnniAdda | Nov 22, 2023 |
“How could three weeks - less even - wipe out nine years?”

When an offer is too good to be true, well…

The first 55 pages or so of this book are VERY slow, and a bit tedious. And the next hundred didn't really heat things up. Basically, a family of three rent a mansion for the summer, and something is wrong with the deal. Especially with regards to the mom. And an old lady may, or may not, also be in the mansion. And something happens at the end, but I'm not quite sure what. But I'm pretty sure that nothing was ever 'burnt'. I think... ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Oct 23, 2023 |
Read for a Haunted House graduate seminar at CU Boulder.

I love how the creepy factor in this novel wasn't created from a tangible sense of anything really creepy. To me, this is more of a psychological haunted house than the canonical "hungry house." Though I'm not an avid fan of horror - this one wasn't terrible. I'd recommend giving it a read! ( )
  BreePye | Oct 6, 2023 |
A haunted house/ghost story, as featured in Paperbacks From Hell, of the slow burn/Amtyville variety. This is from the era/genre of stories involving an urban or suburban (in this case NYC) couple getting an unbelievable deal on buying/renting/caretaking a giant old house or mansion...but something is wrong. The book isn't recent, and there was a feature film (that I actually prefer to the book) made, but I'll still try to avoid spoilers here.
The writing itself is skillful, there's some great foreshadowing that something may be amiss with the couple even before their exposure to the mansion and its owners/inhabitants. The husband, a professor, is almost dangerously absent-minded and oblivious. The wife is already obsessed with living beyond their means when it comes antiques and vacationing, and is leaning into the obsessive-compulsive when it comes to cleaning even in their own home. And of course there's a relatively young child, to add an extra level of threat to events.
Our first really creepy event is the brother and sister who own the mansion the majority of the story takes place in. Their characterization and the interactions involving them are some of the best written parts of the book.
The slow descent into madness of the wife, due to her natural inclinations combined with the subtle infiltration by the forces contained in the house, are really the focus of the novel. Quite frankly, this is a little too slow-burn and atmospheric for a novel for my taste. Despite the quality of the writing (which is why it got 3 instead of two stars), I had a number of false starts on this one before finishing it. I think the pacing and atmosphere work a lot better as a film than they do on the page, where a lot of protracted, albeit beautifully worded, descriptions of various antiques and parts of the house really drag. And while I fully realize some descriptions and experiences of the wife are supposed to be ominous, they sometimes don't read that way. If you read it all, read it for the language, not for the plot. ( )
  jdavidhacker | Aug 4, 2023 |
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One of the scariest haunted house novels ever written, "Burnt Offerings" chronicles the story of Ben and his family renting a house out in the New York countryside, and the horror that unfolds there. Contains new artwork, film stills, reproductions of movie posters, and more.

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