A village on the Devil's Moor: a place untouched by time and shrouded in superstition. There is the grand manor house whose occupants despise the villagers, the small pub whose regulars talk of revenants, the old mill no one dares to mention. This is where four young friends come of age-in an atmosphere thick with fear and suspicion.
Their innocent games soon bring them face-to-face with the village's darkest secrets in this eerily dispassionate, astonishingly assured novel, infused with the spirit of the Brothers Grimm and evocative of Stephen King's classic short story "Children of the Corn" and the films The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke and Village of the Damned by Wolf Rilla.
I wanted to read something frightening and shocking for the Halloween season, instead I read Your House Is on Fire. There are moments of real terror, don't misunderstand me, moments where there are devils (both real and human) moments of unimaginable cruelty. And yes, I found it impossible to guess where the story would go next. But that said, there is no summation, there is no climax, there is no sense that the atrocities in this book meant anything or that they culminated. Instead at one point they just stop. It's not scary, it's just sad.
Told from the points of view of several children in a small town in Germany in the middle of the century, you see as their world turns into horror. There is a baking competition that turns deadly, an ice fishing trip with the worst bet in the world, and a peak through the ground and into hell itself. But with all these great elements, there is no larger story to keep you reading late into the night.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I came across a review of this book at another website and it summed up my feelings perfectly, so I’m going to quote a bit of it here:
“I’m at a loss to aptly describe the effect of Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone. It’s an eerily detached novel, with characters that range from emotionless to desperate, governed by tradition, superstition and even the supernatural. It’s an unsettling book. A quiet book. A surreal book. I’m not sure how I feel about it.”
I don’t know how I feel about the book either.
Hemmersmoor is a small, isolated village with a dark history. Your House Is on Fire tells the story of five friends who grew up in the village and return as middle-aged men and women to attend a funeral. The story is told from the various perspectives of the five. There is murder, rape, incest, bigotry and petty cruelty throughout, and not one of these characters is the least bit likable or sympathetic. Not one. For that reason alone the book was hard to get through.
The story is also beautifully written. Craftily written. Hemmersmor villagers are layered in secrets, and as the children grow up and tell their stories these secrets are revealed, peeled away like layers of an onion to slowly and quietly expose the dark heart of this poisoned community.
I usually like my audiobooks to be 10 hours or more, but this time I was thankful that this was a short one. It left a sour taste in my mind and I had to immediately watch a cheesy comedy after it was over. I didn’t want these characters in my head for too long. They are fictional. The horror is how ordinary and real they are.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
I am not sure what to call this tale- an anthology of a twisted town? The narration is good- although I'm not sure what the accent is supposed to be. But I expected a ghostly take and this had no ghosts- only scary "real people."
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
People who can't complete a train of thought.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Switch it up a bit - maybe a Western.
How could the performance have been better?
Wasn't the performance - just the rambling story.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointment. I'm all for some spooky horror but this book went nowhere, with character’s that were not fleshed out and everyone was evil but in a non-interesting, non-supernatural way. Total waste of time.
Any additional comments?
Do I have to tell people I listened to this?
If you could sum up Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone in three words, what would they be?
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
Yes, big things would happen without any sense of foreboding.
Which scene was your favorite?
I don't have one.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Tales from Hemmersmoor
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
This review is ONLY about the performance of the female narrator. If you're going to narrate a book set in Germany, don't you think you ought to learn how to pronounce German names? It took me a few minutes to realize that she was actually saying "Grob Osten" instead of "Gross Ostend". She actually thought that the ess tsett was pronounced like the letter B!
0 of 2 people found this review helpful