Sunday, 27 March 2011

Review - Houses Without Doors by Peter Straub

This short story collection by Peter Straub deals with themes of child corruption, secrets and those events rooted in the past that forever remain with us. It takes the door off peoples houses and shows the reader what really goes on inside 4 brick walls.

Both Blue Rose and The Juniper Tree are uncomfortable stories to read. Blue Rose looks at the dysfunctional family, in-family bullying and the exercise of power of an older brother over a younger brother, a particularly lengthy scene between these two brothers had me squirming. In The Juniper Tree an adult looks back on his child self who fell into the clutches of a pedophile during a trip to the movie theater.

A Short Guide To The City takes the reader on tour of a nameless city showing them the sites and dark spots. While an interesting idea this one was a little thin for my liking.

The Buffalo Hunter looks at a man who lies to his colleagues about his life. He begins losing himself in the world of books and develops an obsession with baby bottles. It's the weirdest story I've ever read and I loved it.

Something About A Death, Something About A Fire is a story about a clown and a mysterious black cab. I didn't get on with this one it was a bit vague.

Mrs God is an interesting story of an American man who goes to an english manor house to study the poetry and writing of a distant relative. On arriving at the house it is clear that no-one and nothing is what it appears to be. It's a good story but I felt like there was too many things being thrown into the pot.

The main stories are broken up with short interludes which I felt didn't serve any real purpose than to pad the book out

Overall its a decent collection with some great stuff in it and its worth reading just for The Buffalo Hunter.

Rating 3/5

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