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Three Supernatural Classics: "The Willows," "The Wendigo" and "The Listener" Paperback – September 3, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (September 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486469263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486469263
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,536,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read these three novellas back to back and you'll be looking over your shoulder before you even close the book. Algernon Blackwood is often regarded as one of the premiere writers of supernatural fiction and this book displays three of his very best. The classic "The Willows" finds two men canoing down the Rhine (which itself becomes a character through Blackwood's brilliant descriptive writing of a river that is both lovely and menacing)and camping on a tiny sand island that is covered in willows ... and inhabited by something else. What makes this story so rich and scary is Blackwood's blend of convincing characterisation, possible psychological explanations of all the goings on, and the almost unbearable build-up to the story's end. While "The Wendigo" doesn't hit quite as many nails on the head, it is also an effective story of a hunting party in the little-reached Canadian wilderness that ends with a face-to-face with the supernatural. In some ways, Blackwood has a lot of Jack London in him ... the supernatural is always the primary concern, but these men have to wrestle some nature, too. And so, if you go on and decide to do this book in one sitting (as I did) you come to "The Listener" which probably creeped me out the most (I don't hunt or canoe ...). A man takes an apartment in a bleak part of London and soon finds he's not the only one taking the apartment. This story plays upon every fear you have when you are alone in a house and begin suspecting you are not alone. Blackwood once again begins at a leisurely (but always compelling) pace and build the tension into a satisfying end. Each story by itself is terrific, but when done together in one whirlwind Thanksgiving day sitting ... well, the turkey isn't the only one losing his head.
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Format: Paperback
Last summer I bought a huge book of classic ghost stories and one of the stories was Algernon Blackwood's classic camp horror tale "The Wendigo" who's title character has always inspired an absolute fear out of this reader. I don't know but a demonic spirit possessing a loved one to look at you as if you're the next Hot Plate Special doesn't sit too well with me. And being set in the bleak, snowy days of winter in upper Canada added a genuine chilling effect as I began to picture blood on the snow. Needless to say, I devoured the story in one sitting and became a fan of Ole Al Blackwood.

Fast forward to last week when I picked up this copy at the same store for only $3 and I was in a fit to read the other two tales. I was not disappointed.

In "The Willows" two men on a canoeing trip down the Danube River find that the brush covered island they pitch camp on contains a malevolent force bent on making the men very sorry they didn't haul ass out of there as soon as they could.

In "The Wendigo", a hunting party in Northern Canada crosses paths with the cannibalistic spirit of Native American legend which, needless to say, puts a big damper on their Male Bonding trek.

And in the last tale "The Listener", a writer rents a room in a boarding house only to discover that a lost spirit of one of the former tenants is trying to rent out his mind and body.

Each story is rich in detail, complexed in nature, and pretty much set the template that made Stephen King famous by setting ordinary people in frightening, inexplicable situations. The pace each story has is rather slow but the tension grows as you get deeper and deeper into the story though in the beginning I could feel a creeping lethargy come over me and causing me to have to reread a few passages. Overall, though, I was really pleased with this book. Now if only a decent movie could be made from one or all three of these now classic examples of horror fiction.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally purchased this book for the Wendigo short story. I remember reading it years ago and enjoying it immensely.However The Willows caught me by surprise. I think it was actually a better tale with much more imagination and suspense.The mood Mr. Blackwood creates is very much in the spirit of H.P. Lovecraft. The listener written in diary form is a classic ghost story which I am not ashamed to admit gave me goose bumps and had me looking over my shoulders at times every time I heard a bump in the night. I would highly recommend this collection of three short stories to anyone who is a fan of classic horror.
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