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The Birthing House: A Novel Hardcover – August 4, 2009

3.3 out of 5 stars 119 ratings

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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.

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

Product details

  • ASIN : 0312385846
  • Publisher : St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780312385842
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0312385842
  • Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
  • Dimensions : 6.48 x 1.17 x 9.56 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.3 out of 5 stars 119 ratings

Customer reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5
119 global ratings
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ChristinaBroa
2.0 out of 5 stars What did I just read?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2019
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Priscilla
3.0 out of 5 stars Falls at the end
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2013
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Abbey buyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
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Sue Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange..
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2014
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S. Emmett
5.0 out of 5 stars A decent chiller
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2013
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