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In the House in the Dark of the Woods

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  307 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
"Once upon a time there was and there wasn't a woman who went to the woods."

In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she's been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
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Susan Try "The Beast Is an Animal" by Peternelle van Arsdale. It has a similar feeling though not as dreamlike. Maybe also look up Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean…moreTry "The Beast Is an Animal" by Peternelle van Arsdale. It has a similar feeling though not as dreamlike. Maybe also look up Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" which has the same surreal vibe. (less)

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Diane S ☔
Will. Leave this unrated as I will not finish after 50%. Have no idea what is going on and find I don't care enough to continue. For a while I was intrigued by the strangeness, but then it just became tiresome.
Strange read....confusing narrative....difficult to find a focal point or become interested in a character or direction of plot. Almost called it quits a couple of times. Gave it my all though re-reading pages and chapters bc of enticing book summary depicting witchcraft in colonial New England, but a no-go and a long 224 pages for me. Honestly, no clue I was even in colonial America.

Thank you NetGalley and Little Brown and Company for the arc in exchange for my honest review.

I'm developing a bit of a habit of reading books about witches and primeval woodland magic. In the vein of traditional, heavily symbolic folk tales about the sonorant evil that lives in the deep forest, this story is about the unstoppable transformations that happen to women when they leave their hearths. Here be magic birds, killer swarms, tepid wells, glamor magic, hags, and the blackest magic of all: memory.

While there isn't so much a "story" in these pages, there is rather an unquantifiable
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Oh the beautiful cover, the ever-present feeling of dread, and magic derived from nature. This book was an adventure into the world of the women in the Dark of the woods. How did they get here? Why are they here? Or better yet, what have they done to get here? A story of redemption, or maybe punishment, or maybe even the power of reclamation. Witchcraft, wolves, spooky forests, and boats made of flesh & bone, this book has it all. For a dark tale that is absolutely impossible to summarize an ...more
Caleb Masters
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully spooky, dreamlike treasure of a book. Positively dripping with atmosphere, Hunt's novel tells the seemingly simply story of a women getting lost in the woods in colonial New England. But the novel quickly becomes anything but ordinary, filled with fantastical images, beautiful writing, strange twists, and pervasive sense of intangible dread; 'In the House in the Dark of the Woods' is the perfect book to read by the fire on a dark night. Can't wait to revisit this again soon!
Jessica Sullivan
Oct 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018-read
Update: I want to clarify that this book is definitely objectively better than 1 Star. But I still hold that my experience of reading it was so disappointing that I’m sticking to this low rating.


I have no idea what I just read. Obscure fiction works for me sometimes, but this was just too much. I couldn’t wait for it to end and I’m so glad to be done with it that I can’t even be bothered to write a full review. The writing itself is good, but I hated the experience of reading this so much.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, satan, fiction
Inspired take on the traditional witches in the woods story. There is a lot going on in this fairly shot novel about a Goodwife (goody) who finds herself on the other side of reality. The first half of the novel is full of unexplained happenings and frustrating wandering, but Hunt manages to wrap things up into a tight little metaphor for Hell. In many ways, I agree with Hunt's take - circular time and grotesque games are the stuff of nightmares and hellscapes more so than any snide Dante-ish co ...more
A truly atmospheric tale of a young Puritan woman who finds herself lost in the woods, desperately trying to get home to her son and husband. While stumbling within the dark forest she soon encounters two strange and possibly menacing women and although little happens within the pages of this very short story, the imagery is extremely reflective of Hannah Kent. I absolutely loved the cover of this novel.
Jee Hooked On Bookz
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Riveting! Devoured this in 2 days.
You’d first meet a woman nicknamed ‘Goody‘ who would then meet Captain Jane, Eliza and Granny Someone, all of whom were witches, although one of them will claim she was not, and that she was in the woods to save lost souls, another fed on children and another seemed not to be who she claimed to be. Then there was also a mysterious character, Red Boy, whom was feared but respected by the dwellers of the woods.

It took me awhile to get into Hart’s writing style. Bu
Alisa H. (worldswithinpages)
Felt a bit disorganized and rambling which made it hard to follow. The idea behind the story was promising, but the execution was a bit lackluster.

Thank you to Little Brown for the free copy and a chance to review!
Molly Riportella
A mother’s errand turns dark and mystical in Hunt’s newest take on witches in Colonial New England. A bright-eyed Goody walks into the woods to gather berries for her husband and young son when the air turns dark. Soon our nameless protagonist is lost, and encounters a magnetic Captain Jane, a bizarre hermit named Eliza, and an ephemeral girl in a yellow dress, each one welcoming and yet exuding a cautious eagerness. Circumstances continually keep the Goody from making her way home. As the tale ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. This book is written in surreal, dream-like, lyrical prose. If you like that, and if you like fairy tales, you will probably love this book. But for me, that kind of narrative is like seeing a story unfold behind frosted glass. It's just not my thing, and I prefer a more concrete, grounded style. So this book was only okay for me, but still, while I usually DNF most books with this writing style, this one kept me reading, so I'm rounding up. I did enjoy the eerie feeling I got as I re ...more
Bill Hsu
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of my favorites of 2018 so far. The leisurely fairy-tale narrative keeps slipping. Questions are posed and shrugged off. Like in this delicious exchange:

"Once upon a time there was and there wasn't a woman who went to the woods... Now why did she go?"
"Why did she go?"
"Why did she go and what did she do?"
"Went down to the stream and took off her shoe."
"And before that?"
"Set off from her house in a bonnet blue."
"Now tell me, what did she rue?"
"What did she rue?"

I don't come across many nove
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Reading a Laird Hunt novel is always an immersive experience. His writing is something that latches on and doesn't let go easily, so if you're sitting down with one of his books, you might just consider your afternoon and evening booked.

Though I think there is definitely a clear narrative to this story, I feel that this book is more about the journey, reading through the main character's experiences and fully coating yourself with the strange and unsettling rhythm and mystery of the words.

Raven Ross
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This darkly entrancing novel was perfect for the Halloween season! The women are powerful and violent, but not lacking complexity in the least. The scenes are sooo creepy and enjoyable as fuuuuck. Go read it, because this literary journey leaves no regrets (well, for the readers at least).
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Creepy, dark, twisty, enchanting, surreal, dreamlike(maybe more of a nightmare that you never want to leave),haunting, and a wild rush the whole way through.

The only book to ever give me the creeps. (But in a good way.)

I HIGHLY recommend!

ETA: unnerving (the entire time!) brilliantly done, Laird!
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was slight, and as such it was not a bad reading experience. It took me a while to cotton on to where it was going. But even when I did, I didn't fully get the point. It's eerie and atmospheric, but ultimately too vague to be satisfying.
Jessica (jessreadsalatte)
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
*I was sent an Advance Readers Copy by Hatchette Book Group in exchange for an honest review*

4 Stars

I actually quite enjoyed this one.

I’m seeing a lot of reviews saying the writing wasn’t really their type, but for me, I enjoyed the writing a lot. It felt poet almost, like it was a dream-like fairytale.. or nightmare per se.

It was a lot shorter than I was hoping for and at first, I was quite disappointed about that. But after reading it in full, I do think it’s a nice size for the content provi
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 I enjoyed this dark, twisty tale and it's very fairy like qualities. It reminds me of Jeanette Winterson's The Daylight Gate. Interesting twists and turns throughout, over all I think I'd have enjoyed it more had it been told in less of a fable-like way. Very good and of high quality.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This was really odd, but I think I liked it. It's very literary and symbolic and seems to be written in the vein of a traditional folk tale style. It's dark, a bit eerie, and leaves a lot of things ambiguous in a good way.

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

This was an odd little book, but it was also a good one. This is going to be a shorter review because there really just isn't a lot to review. Although there is a plot and there are a few main characters, this is a book much more
Rory O'Connor
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
In this dark fairy tale set in colonial New England, an unnamed puritan woman sets out in the forest to pick some berries for her husband and little boy. She does not return. Perhaps she’s lost. Or perhaps she’s fleeing her tyrannical husband and eerily quiet son. Lost, alone, and injured, she is rescued by a woman – Captain Jane – wrapped in the pelt of a wolf. She takes the Goody to Eliza’s charming stone cottage. But in the house in the dark of the woods, all is not as it seems.

On the surface
Bri (brinocheeze)
Thank you Little Brown Company for a copy of this book in an exchange for a honest review.

Laird Hunt ’s In the House in the Dark of the Woods is a psychological horror rollercoaster.

The cover art for this book was one of my favorite parts of the book, intriguing and inviting.

I experienced a lot of confusion in the beginning of the book, but that didn’t stop me from powering through. I read over half the book in one sitting and devoured the other half the next day. Hunt’s beautiful lyrical wr
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-arcs
This is a horror story that begins with a walk in the woods, set during colonial American times. It is a dark story populated with women with untoward motivations toward our main character, who is referred to as Goody. The plot is interesting, but suffers from the convoluted sentence structure that is apparently Hunt's signature style.
If you can muscle through the prose, there is an atmospheric, creepy story to be had - but for being such a short story, this book reads like a much heftier tome.

Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, fairy-tale, horror
What a strange little book! Its a self-described horror book but it honestly felt more like a fairy tale - in the eerie, bizarre way that the original tales are. There are some horror-y moments but the witches in the woods and the story itself has a spooky Hansel and Gretel feel. I really liked it though it was confusing at times and weird in the way that certain fantastical stories are (Alice in Wonderland, The Hike). It was the perfect length though for something like that - the book is small ...more
Dan Radovich
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Go buy this book, then wait until you have time to sit in a comfy chair for a read in one sitting trip into darkness. Hunt delivers a short tale of horror that will make fans of the genre giddy. His style takes a bit to get into, but what a treat you have here. Atmosphere! Characters! YES! Venture into the Dark of Laird Hunt's Woods and be prepared to be scared.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
*** I received a free audiobook thru's Bookseller Listener program***

The narration of this strange, magical, fevered dream is wonderful! The story is strange and witchy, which I liked, even if I didn't always know what the hell was going on. Definitely recommending the audiobook version!

Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
deliciously spooky; managed to be a book about witches in colonial america that wasn’t also deeply stupid and I have to respect that
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
this book is almost nonsensical — it’s creepy, visceral, and uniquely morbid. although the book itself is not violent, it’s violence is written in such a way that it allows the readers mind to almost run wild. the characters are people and yet not. they are almost animal, rabid. the women restless yet vengeful. demure with teeth. and I couldn’t put it down once I’d found the time to pick it up. it’s an absolute perfect read for this time of year and I’m so glad I had friends who suggested it to ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. Incomprehensible gibberish.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One hauntingly cool and beautifully nuanced book!
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Literary Horror: November 2018 Group Read 11 26 6 hours, 5 min ago  
Laird Hunt is an American writer, translator and academic.

Hunt grew up in Singapore, San Francisco, The Hague, and London before moving to his grandmother's farm in rural Indiana, where he attended Clinton Central High School. He earned a B.A. from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. He also stud
“There are no poor men. Not even among the wretches.” 0 likes
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