Hare House: An Atmospheric Modern-day Tale of Witchcraft – the Perfect Autumn Read

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Hare House: An Atmospheric Modern-day Tale of Witchcraft – the Perfect Autumn Read

Hare House: An Atmospheric Modern-day Tale of Witchcraft – the Perfect Autumn Read

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At the same time, the major events, when they come, have been so far telegraphed in advance that they don’t really have much impact. It is the start of the year, the weather has chilled so far that the car needs de-icing in the morning and I am reliant on my head torch for my morning runs, and I am both driving to work in the dark, and coming home in the dark. I don’t like what the reveal suggested because it invalidates a lot of what the reader suspected was happening. The owners of Hare House, the Hendersons, have been unlucky – perhaps even, as is later suggested, cursed. Sally Hinchcliffe was born in London but grew up all over the world in the wake of her father’s diplomatic career.

Witchy, mystical and intriguing, this book was a quick read that had a lot more to it than I was expecting. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. In terms of the characters, I found the main character very hard to like and she thoroughly annoyed me.

It doesn't matter if you're into Stephen King, Octavia Butler, Jack Ketchum or Shirley Jackson, this is the place to share that love and discuss to your heart's content. It’s difficult to go into too many details without spoilers but this falls somewhere between psychological and supernatural mystery – with a nod towards folk horror. The opening image of the hare, run over by a bus, dying a lingering death; the hares, stuffed and posed, in various tableaux in Hare House; the hares running alongside our narrator by the roadside.

A former London school teacher, forced to resign under mysterious circumstances, rents a house in the Scottish highlands where she meets an obstinate old woman and isolated, parentless siblings. The subplot involving Rory is underdeveloped, there's insufficient back story about his family, Cass's fits of hysteria get repetitive and the ending is confused - and feels unlikely, bearing in mind what has happened in the previous scene. The bewitching prose brilliantly evokes the bleak glories of a remote Scottish landscape, while the subtle shifts of plot and perspective lure the reader towards an unsettling denouement where nothing is quite what it seems. The further on you get, the more unreliable you realize this narrator is, yet you keep rooting for her.

There are moments of metalepsis, when the narrator’s future self adds commentary: what would turn out to be the last time… or words to that effect. As a snow storm closes in in the novel’s final chapters, trapping everyone in the big house, things come to a head as emotions and the atmosphere runs riot. As the plot hurtles towards its climax and the atmosphere thickens, the reader, just like the narrator, is forced to contend with increasing evidence that for the denizens of Hare House, witches are not the stuff of fairytales; they are an active threat.

An unnamed narrator arrives at a remote cottage in Scotland, one that is attached to the titular House. I do think there are a number of unanswered questions that we're left with and it makes me question whether those plot points were really necessary to the story. It feels like a whole lot of nothing really happens and it puts me in mind of a similarly executed book, Pine. The experience reminded me a little of reading things like Gone Girl I just got caught up in wanting to know what was going on, even though I wasn’t expecting a satisfying denouement. Moving into a cottage on the remote estate of Hare House, she begins to explore her new home – a patchwork of hills, moorland and forest.There was quite a lot I liked in this book - the setting and the people are quite interesting, and I‘m very fond of hares. Everything about the story, how it’s told, how it’s written, the strength of the voice, the momentum of the plot. I have, if you will forgive me, kept names to a minimum here, for reasons that will become understandable.

I gave myself some time to process (a little longer in truth than I’d planned to be honest), trying to get some clarity but several weeks on I’m still no further in this. I really enjoyed the Scottish setting, and the occasional oblique references to myths and fairytales (the mysterious lady with the dogs, for example).I think it was made fairly clear what happened at the narrator's school and why she moved to Scotland. After completing an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, her first novel, Out of a Clear Sky , was published by Macmillan in 2008. Hare House is also brought to life brilliantly, down to the creepy taxidermy which 'decorates' its walls. The high quality of the landscape writing in this book, and a few passages of the dialogue, suggest that Hinchcliffe is capable of much more than the rather weak Gothic horror story she's produced here.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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