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Houdini Heart Paperback – April 25, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Eio Books (April 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975925512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975925515
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,448,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As in love as I am with Longfellow's extraordinary historical and mystical novels The Secret Magdalene: A Novel and Flow Down Like Silver (Hypatia of Alexandria), I was surprised to find she has written a horror story. Since I happen to like horror, and because this is Longfellow, I read the book. How do I feel? In a word, haunted. I think I mean in the way one is haunted by the works of Shirley Jackson. Houdini Heart is truly one of a kind, even if compared to Jackson. In it, Longfellow's lead character is helpless, funny, resourceful, perhaps mad, perhaps not, and deadly, a thrilling combination. A writer lost in her own creations, or a woman lost in the "real" world? I never knew for sure. All I know now is that within a few pages I was as lost in the witty, literate, eerie and terrifying world Longfellow made of the Vermont town of Little Sokoki (where River House "still stands") as the woman whose story this is. I'm also deeply impressed that Longfellow can switch writing styles with such seeming ease. This is written in a voice totally unlike her historical work. It's deceptively light until it grows deceptively darker and darker...and darker. I suspect Longfellow is haunted, or was. Perhaps this book has exorcised some of those demons. Perhaps not. But I have little doubt that once discovered, Houdini Heart, a masterful blend of elegant literary fiction and deeply creepy genre fiction, will become a classic.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that takes you very gently down a seductive path that gradually entangles you in brambles of increasing identifiableness and madness, then won't let you go. Ki Longfellow Stanshall's first person narrator weaves you into a world that may seem perfectly ordinary at first, but as her skewed universe is fleshed out, the things that are wrong slowly snowball into a full blown inner view of psychosis. This lady is driving the car, but you can't get out.

I don't know any other book with a story vector quite so perfectly paced. It's rather like swimming in a clear, serene pond, floating languidly, amidst a mastery of language and descriptors delicious, rich and funny as Tom Robins, Thomas Pynchon, or even sometimes Joyce, and almost lazily sensual. But as one floats, the sense of a current slowly and subtly increases, until before you know it, it's as though you're swirling in a mad blender with blades swirling beneath the surface that are sure to chop you up. You want to scream for it to stop, but it's so beautifully and masterfully done that you need to see what happens next.

Flashing between the glamor of Hollywood and a small, bucolic town in Vermont, this book's protagonist invites empathy even as she leads you into her full blown insanity. She's a monster you've never met, yet somehow you know. By the time she's done with you, you've gone through her three dimensional circus of dementia right along with her.

If you like Steven King, Lovecraft, Alfred Hitchcock movies, and even a touch of Jaqueline Suzanne, this is a dark, lovely, wonderful and harrowing tale full of movie stars, sardonic humor and good old fashioned horror. It shakes you up, and then spits you out more than a little changed. Devilish fun. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
-10/5 stars. This was the most awful, pretentious, inane, inauthentic drivel I've ever read. Longfellow borrows all her metaphors from others, directly quotes Shirley Jackson every other sentence, plays with narrative devices in a childish, inept way (there is a book within a book; there are the episodes of past revelations; there is the haunted house and there are the hidden stairs in the closet and invisible people; there is madness slowly revealed; there is the helpless anti-heroine, abused and wronged and egotistically filled with pity for herself...).

These techniques, badly handled, jut out of the work at odd angles, never quite cohering into a coherent vision. In their fragmentation, they do not interact as related, messy pieces that organically shape an arc that is more than the sum of its discrete parts - worse, they interfere with each other.

Ugh - so many awful things about this "book", but the worst of all is the message:
"Real Artists" are those who live on the edge of madness, on the outskirts of "normality", those who are driven to create out of a passion to escape the boundaries of the conventional, "real world", those who self-destruct in their pursuit of their art, those who abuse and neglect their loved ones in egotistical self-absorption...
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Deep and dark are it's passages. They draw you into insanity along with the author Ki Longfellow. This crumbling Victorian hotel,once known for its glamourous stars.It's ghosts will keep you company. Forever.
The author's voice is a creepy,dry,rustling one,echoing with nostalgia from the past,quietly.grimly taking you on a tour of madness.
Houdini Heart is one of the best horror stories you will read.
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