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Houses Without Doors [Paperback]

Peter Straub
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Jun 1993
A collection of six short stories by the author of "If You Could See Me Now" and "Koko". These stories include "Blue Rose", which tells a story about the childhood of Harvey Beevers, the villain of "Koko". Other stories featured include "The Juniper Tree" and "Mrs God".

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; (Reissue) edition (28 Jun 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586212027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586212028
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 11.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,179,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Beneath the silent surfaces of the everyday world, behind the walls of buildings you’ve never dared enter, there lies a realm of mystery which we know exists, but can only reach through imagination, trauma or violence. In this provocative collection of stories, which includes 'Blue Rose' and 'The Juniper Tree', Straub coaxes the reader into his errie world of deranged minds and childhood terror, of destructive obsession and deadly innocence.

“The thinking man’s Stephen King.”
'NEW YORK TIMES'.

“His most notable work yet. Everyone, no matter how ordinary, has a secret, and sometimes that secret is more appealing than we can guess. Therein lies the chilling focus of Straub’s work.”
'LOCUS.'

“Straub is a a master of the slow burn. His superb short stories draw the unsuspecting reader slowly but surely into the horror that can lie behind the most unassuming of situations. The chill factor is high.”
'WESTERN MAIL.'

“A spellbinding collection of stories from a very classy author…a treat.”
'MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS.'

About the Author

Born in Milwaukee, Peter Straub is the author of fifteen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. He has won the British Fantasy Award, two Bram Stoker awards and two World Fantasy awards. His most recent publications are his acclaimed novel Mr X, a collection of short stories, Magic Terror, and Black House, the international bestselling novel that he co-wrote with Stephen King.


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First Sentence
On stifling summer day the two youngest of the five Beevers children, Harry and Little Eddie, were sitting on cane-backed chairs in the attic of their house on South Sixth Street in Palmyra, New York. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection; Straub at his ice-coldest. 23 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I found the six stories in Houses Without Doors worth the time and money ("Blue Rose" is less effective, probably, if you didn't read KoKo; if you did, it's a sucker punch). Although it's not graphic, "The Juniper Tree" is probably one of the most horrifying stories I have ever read. "The Buffalo Hunter" is flat-out surreal, which I loved. These short stories, being short, are neither typically tangly nor big on character development (read: sentiment). This collection wobbles between artsiness and pure dread, and will probably displease *both* fans of modern fiction and fans of pulp horror. I adored it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Houses Without Doors - Showed promise 10 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
In 'Houses Without Doors' Peter Straub delivers a collection of short horror stories. Some of the stories are indeed horrific but as I went through the book the horror disappeared and the stories just became bizarre. This in itself was not a bad thing but towards the end of the book there seemed to be a lack of coherence. The book is too long. One review on the back cover says that the author is "the master of the slow burn". This is just a polite was of saying he is too verbose. In Straub's defense his stories are original and they have interesing ideas. They are also plausible but in the final analysis they were not sufficiently gripping.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, But Never Pretentious 17 April 2004
By C. T. Mikesell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This collection of short stories lifts its title from an Emily Dickinson poem ("Doom is the house without a door..."). There is a sense of doom pervading each of the stories, as the major characters are cursed by psychological maladies (psychosis, repression, obsession) or are forced to interact with powers beyond their (and our) comprehension. Some of the stories end with the characters clearly not escaping their doom (most notably in "The Buffalo Hunter"), while others leave it to the reader to guess at the outcome ("Mrs. God," "The Juniper Tree"). All of the stories, including the interludes, work overtime to produce a dark mood and an off-kilter worldview.
"The Buffalo Hunter" and "Mrs. God" were my favorites. The former presents a loner who gets lost in his own imagined relationships and later in the paperback novels he reads. I'm a fan of Raymond Chandler's work, so Straub's pastiche of "The Lady in the Lake" was particularly enjoyable. If I were more familiar with Anna Karenina I might have had a better appreciation for the ending of the short story, but as it was I sensed something bad coming and Straub didn't disappoint. "Mrs. God" felt a lot like Ghost Story to me; particularly nice was the way Henry James and other authors were woven into the piece. I had read "Blue Rose" when Penguin issued it as a stand-alone mini-book in the mid-90's; it's the "oogiest" of all the stories - even the second time through it still creeped me out and made me slightly nauseated.
I enjoyed these stories a great deal. Straub can be crueler and more terrifying than some of his contemporaries, even while his syntax and phraseology are more refined. If you're a fan of Straub's or the psychological/horror genres in general you'll likely enjoy this book. Beyond that, there aren't many to whom I'd recommend this collection of short fiction, unless it would be a student who wants to see how words can be used effectively to create mood and transport readers to worlds they'd not likely find on their own.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of stories!! 13 April 2002
By Patrick m Tinney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Unknown Binding|Verified Purchase
I was glad to see that Peter Straub released this short collection of his work. There are some dark & memorable stories here. Blue Rose and The Juniper Tree are the best of the lot. I enjoyed those especially since they tie in heavily to Koko and The Throat. I was sorry to see that The Ghost Village wasn't part of this collection, but, it did appear later in another of Peter's collections called Magic Terror. The last story in the book, Mrs. God is excellent. Since there is a longer, slightly different version of it, in limited release, I would recommend that instead. There are smaller interludes that divide each story and these interludes make up their own short story as well. All in all, anything by Peter Straub is a going to show what a true Master he is at his craft.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great short stories, very creepy mood 15 Feb 2003
By Tammy L. Schilling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Houses Without Doors presents short stories with incredibly creepy moods. Their creepiness comes not from grotesqueness, but rather, from the very normalcy of the settings that horrid things take place in. You aren't transported to some otherwordly place, rather the terror is brought straight into your personal living space.
Each story has it's own focus, much having to do with the type of horror that children find themselves confronting - and even perpetrating. Those who like Stephen King's child-type characters may also enjoy these. The stories are eerie in their familiarity, but work more on a psychlogical/emotional level than they do through plot. Many of the stories are non-linear, a tool that the author uses to great effect. Not only does it add to the moodiness of the story, it also notches up the emotions that the characters seem to feel. Readers who enjoy non-linear story telling will definetely enjoy this book. Those who prefer a plot-heavy and/or super-suspenseful type book may not like it as well.
Overall excellent stories, frightening characters, and perfect horror mood. Definetely a book well worth the money.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Effort 2 Nov 1998
By vedamuth@pilot.msu.edu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This collection focuses on desperate, self-destructive characters masquerading as studious, meek individuals. The textures of these lives, presented in Straubs gentle tones, really demolish all preconceptions about introverts. What's most interesting is how their bravery, their willingness to stare horror in the face, is ultimately what is self-destructive. Strange. "Blue Rose" reads like a primer on the construction of a serial killer's personality. And both "The Buffalo Hunter" and "Mrs. God" have protagonist's more bent on experiencing weirdness than self-preservation. Straub excels at psychological horror.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Finish This! 8 May 2014
By ColleenJulie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Of course cover jackets always put the best reviews and comments on them -- but, sometimes those people either have a Very different opinion than mine or they are just flat out lying! I didn't like any of these short stories that I read (2/3 of way though the book) and gave up. Mostly, they are creepy stories that really don't have a point. Maybe that IS Straub's point - that evil exists and there is no real explanation for it? ......... but that still doesn't make me want to read the last couple of them.
If you enjoy stories about creepy kids that hypnotize their sibling into fatal seizures, pedophiles that hang out in movie theaters, and other gross or dysfunctional characters - then you might enjoy this. I'm not squeamish, but I found nothing in the stories to make me glad I had read them.
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