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The Birthing House: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged edition (July 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433289245
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433289248
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,984,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A blend of supernatural horror and psychological thriller, Ransom's impressive debut chronicles a couple's descent into madness after they purchase a 140-year-old Victorian house in rural Wisconsin. Failed L.A. screenwriter Conrad Harrison, whose marriage is on the rocks and who's still coming to grips with the sudden death of his estranged father, decides it's time for a change and, on a whim, buys a turn-of-the-century birthing house he fatefully found after driving the wrong way out of Chicago. But the sprawling structure has a dark history, and after his wife lands a new job and leaves for a few weeks of training in Detroit, Harrison begins to unravel the house's bloody past, even as his own sanity is unraveling. Replete with subtle symbolism that supports the birthing motif (spiders with bulging egg sacs, a moist clutch of snake eggs, etc.), this addictively readable ghost story will keep readers up all night, with the lights on, of course. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Conrad Harrison takes a wrong turn out of Chicago and winds up buying an old Victorian house in a small Wisconsin town—just the thing for getting out of L.A., which Conrad hates because of his low-bucks fumbling and dependence on his high-bucks-salesperson wife. But they are no sooner relocated than Joanna flees to an eight-week training for a new job. While she is away, the neighbors befriend Conrad and ask him to keep an eye on their pregnant daughter (the boyfriend’s a flake) while they’re off recharging their marriage. Ad hoc guardianship first seems a good reason to get out of the house, which is getting to Conrad. He keeps hearing a newborn crying, glimpsing a dark figure, and after he sees Joanna in a photo album that goes with the house, he is seriously freaked, also occasionally unable to account for long periods of time. The house is haunted, of course, and Conrad’s is just the kind of frustrated consciousness most susceptible to occupation by the spirit it contains. A lot of sex and climactic gore and a well-sustained ambiguity about how much a malevolent ghost and how much a progressively insane Conrad is to blame are balanced against weaknesses in characterization and choppy narrative flow, but this is a good-enough first horror outing. In any event, it’s getting a big first printing and publicity to match. --Ray Olson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Christopher Ransom is the author of the international bestselling novels The Birthing House, Killing Ghost (published in the UK as The Haunting of James Hastings), The People Next Door, and The Fading. After studying literature at Colorado State University, he managed an international business importing exotic reptiles, and later worked at
Entertainment Weekly magazine in New York. Christopher now lives near his hometown of Boulder, Colorado. You can connect with him online at ChristopherRansom.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ChristopherRansomAuthor, and on Twitter @TheFadedMan.

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, the book could not keep my attention once I started reading.
Karen Joan
Unfortunately, about half way through the book the story started to fizzle and the writing became a bit confusing, leading to an ending that was incredibly convoluted.
Book Lover
The biggest mystery for me ended up being, am I getting dumber as I get older, or was this book just really bad?
PghYinzer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By PghYinzer on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm a social history dork. I also love old houses. AND I love anything medical, especially anything having to do with pregnancy and birth. I thought that this book was going to combine all of those loves and wrap them up into the sort of horror story that you can't put down at night, partly because you keep wanting to know what happens next, and partly because you don't want to turn out the lights. You know those sorts of scary books that leave you as a grown adult afraid to get out of bed at night to go to the bathroom? That's what I was hoping for.

I didn't get it.

There's just not enough back story on the birthing house, for starters. Conrad moves in and the previous owner hands him a scrap book of the house. Conrad spots a picture that looks like his wife - and throws the whole book in the fire. The history dork in me recoiled in horror. That was probably the scariest part in the book for me. We have an old house, built in the 20s. Lots of people buy old houses and find interesting stuff in them. We didn't find a whole lot. Some old keys, some old wall paper. Nothing great. This guys gets an entire album of pictures and clippings - the history of his house handed to him on a silver platter - he freaks out and burns it. Why would he not verify who this woman is? Why would he not research the house? This could have gone somewhere - but it didn't.

Then the story tells you a little bit about weird things that happen to those previous owners - but not enough to really understand anything. Yes, their kids are all deformed. There's references to no one being able to keep track of how many kids there were. WHAT HAPPENED??? It could have been so interesting!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Brett Benner VINE VOICE on July 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The only reason I'm giving this book one star is that despite the wheels falling off the cart in the second half of the book, I think Ransom has great potential as a writer. It starts with a great premise: A young couple having marital problems moves from the sprawl of Los Angeles to a remote home in Wisconsin, that holds it's own dark and twisted secrets. The books rests somewhere between 'The Amityville Horror' and 'The Shining' , but never really reaches either in terms of a horror benchmark. I wanted to get scared, was waiting to get scared, but never really was. To me, this is a tepid ghost story with some graphic sex, and a ridiculous final thirty pages that will have you wondering not only what just happened, by why you even bothered.
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38 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. O'Sullivan on June 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In every reviewer's repertoire there is always one word they hold in reserve, like saving one bullet in your gun in case you happen to find yourself surrounded by a horde of ravenous zombies, it's a killing word, it's a word that sums up their true feelings on a subject and for me that word is: DUMBFOUNDED. I was literally dumbfounded by THE BIRTHING HOUSE. A complete mish-mash rip that by the close of CHAPTER TWO had me questioning the sanity of both the author and the publisher - just what were they thinking?

THE BIRTHING HOUSE tells the tried and true story of a house "haunted" by the ghosts and gimmicks of classic horror tales and the want of modern writers to take what used to be left best read between the lines and shove it in your face...sex. From the classic interpretation to the internet's excesses it seemed Ransom, like his hero, Conrad Harrison, has no real self control, or will or ability to edit himself - he's merely a cork on water, rising and falling with the swells, but never taking on water, never truly going beneath the surface. He's simply follows Ransom's futile splashing of prose to get him to move, but it never works. Ransom is hopelessly locked into a plot that feels like he's following the floor plan of a carnival spook house, that again, by the end of CHAPTER TWO, you'll realize that you've already read this a dozen times before.

And the house is not just haunted, it's "out, loud and proud" haunted (two snaps). Conrad isn't in the house for more than a moment before he's already being sucked into the house's neatly ordered vortex of evil. And the funny things is...he knows it, right from the start. Again and again when something isn't right he puts the blame squarely on the house and he's right. It is the house. Get out.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By alt176 on January 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
As many reviewers had said, this book honestly left me speechless because it was that terrible. I was really hoping for a mysterious thriller. All I got was a pornographic and confusing tale of characters that I actually hated. There was not one person in the story that I actually cared about. It didn't matter in the end what happened to any of them. The plot was completely disjointed. There were story lines that were started and not concluded, no real ending, and I truly did not understand what the heck was happening throughout the entire story. I would have just stopped reading the book, but I hate to leave things unfinished. I would never recommend this book to another person, and I would actually go out of my way to tell others not to read it. It doesn't matter what types of books you enjoy, I cannot imagine anyone would like this book. Terrible!
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