The greed and haughty pride of the Pyncheon family through the generations is mirrored in the gloomy decay of their seven-gabled mansion, where the family's enfeebled and impoverished relations now live. Mysterious deaths threaten the living. Musty documents nestle behind hidden panels carrying the secret of the family's salvation - or its downfall.
A brilliant intertwining of the popular, the symbolic, and the historical, Hawthorne's Gothic romance is a powerful exploration of personal and national guilt, a work that Henry James declared "the closest approach we are likely to have to the Great American Novel".
(P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
It seems I've learned this lesson many times, and each time I think I've finally "got it," but then find myself learning it again:: Classics don't have to be "hard," and old authors of classics are not (necessarily) dry and long winded and stodgy. I was a little nervous about approaching a book written by the author of "The Scarlett Letter," but I needn't have been, as "The House of Seven Gables" was as unlike its sister novel as I am unlike my siblings. Whatever similarities are merely due to the author's linguistic environment; If written in the 21st centry the main difference in this telling of The House of Seven Gables and today's would be a few coloquialisms. Enough of that: the plot is interesting, the characters fascinating, the telling of the tale witty and believable and sympathetic. The narrator also does a great job conveying the various characters and their motivations. I found I loved this book and would definitely choose it again.
I didn't like Hawthorne in high school, but decided to give him another try, almost 20 years later. Sadly, although the narrator does a fantastic job, he just can't save this book. The individual scenes are beautiful, but they don't add up to much -- just about everything important in the story happens off-stage.
Anthony Heald is an excellent narrator. His characterizations are distinct and never overdone. I very much enjoyed his consistently good work with this novel of one of my favorite authors.
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