RIP Challenge - week 1

Started my reading for the RIP Challenge with Virginia Woolf's A Haunted House. As this was only 3 pages (and my other selections had not yet arrived from Amazon) and a long holiday weekend, I culled my book stacks for other RIP candidates.

Turned out to be a grumpy weekend of reading. I guess I'll have to call myself the Persnickety Kitten this week. Anyway, here goes...

Murders in the Rue Morgue, Edgar Allen Poe. I assumed I've read this at some point, but couldn't recall so I dusted off a copy of Poe's short works and gave it a whirl. What a disappointment. A ridiculous ending, even accounting for the fact that it was the first of the detective genre. I'll be interested in what other readers have to say, see if I can muster some appreciation for it at that point. But for me, Cask of Amontillado is a better story by far.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson. Though Jackson's writing is, as always, fine, I really disliked living with the crazy narrator, plus I figured out whodunit early on. Had to force myself through it. And the ending went way over the top. I revisited The Haunting of Hill House, which is at least spookier (though oddly dated).

That leaves us with: A Haunted House, Virginia Woolf. A mere 3 pages, but the clear winner for weekend number 1. Not sure it really qualifies as a short story (sketch? vignette? pastiche?), but this of all this weekend's RIP readings offered up genuine atmosphere, provocative thoughts and complex texture. The stream of consciousness writing gives an idea of why the living fear ghosts -- They embody our regret for, longing of and reconnection to the past:

Death was the glass; death was between us; coming to the woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, went East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house, found it dropped beneath the Downs.

Here's hoping that James, Irving or Wharton arrive at my doorstep by Friday!


Carl V. Anderson said...

I read (and posted a review of) Murders in the Rue Morgue over the weekend (a book containing all 2 Dupin tales). I really enjoyed it. It isn't his horror genre so I can't compare it to those stories. I had actually read this one before but not the other two. I really enjoyed Dupin's way of looking at things and giving a different interpretation from that of the police, the newspapers, etc. This is especially obvious in the second tale, The Mystery of Marie Roget.

Obviously it is just my opinion and thankfully Poe has enough varied and wonderful stuff to truly meet anyone's taste.

Hopefully the rest of your R.I.P. reading will be more enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

I am reading the Murders in Rue Morgue now. A few more pages to go...Dupin reminds me of Sherlock Holmes. I really did like The Cask of Amontillado, too, and I hope to reread it.

Robertson Frizero said...

Thanks for your comments on 'A Haunted House', by Virginia Woolf. Just some words, but they opened my mind to understand the deep intentions of Woolf in this short story.

Best regards from Porto Alegre, Brazil!