Im 100% certain that Ill sound like a superstitious ignorant, but bear with me:) Being quite the introvert type, its always a toil to find myself in unexplored grounds but I wasnt always such a lunatic over houses. Four-five years ago, we visited some friends in their new house, in a quaint seaside village, relatively close to Athens. The house was beautifully decorated, in an old-fashioned but nostalgic and inspired way, the family has been friends of ours for years, so no worries there. There was nothing dark in the history of the house and the family still lives there happily and yet, Ive never experienced such an unpleasant (to put it mildly) feeling in an indoors space since that day. The elderly siblings, the owners of the house, ask for a miniscule price and the only obligation the family has is to prepare a tray for the darling mother who lives in the remotest part of the local floor, unseen by all who have rented the estate throughout the years. It wont matter, I assure you, The way the book is s written will definitely absorb you. It made my heart pounding as I was approaching the conclusion, I was appalled and fascinated and under the grip of the tense influence of watching everything falling apart. The characters are overshadowed by the House which is the undoubtable protagonist of Marascos novel. But this isnt the kind of story where the characters have to be complex and sympathetic and what not.
It was white, and framed within the narrow, smooth border was an intricate pattern of lines and curves carved into the wood, so delicate in the rooms dim light that she hadnt noticed the design until she came within a few feet. She also loves to clean, and more days than not when Ben returns from teaching, he is greeted by the aroma of lemons and polish. Marian is determined to escape Brooklyn for the summer. With a thought to protecting their modest savings, Ben wants to stay in Brooklyn and venture out on a few trips to upstate New York when they need some relief from the oppressive heat of summer. The house is full of all the wonderful things that Marian can only dream of every possessing. Part of the stipulations is that Marian has to feed the matriarch of the family, Mrs. Allardyce, the glorious mother, three times a day by leaving a tray for her outside her ornately carved door. Marian never sees her and only occasionally gets a proof of life by noticing that some of the food on the plates she leaves... The tendrils of gray hair that start to appear in Marians hair are just natural,...right? Ben starts to feel his personality change. He starts to know with more and more certainty that he needs to get away from this place, whether Marian wants to go or not. Certainly, Joes father, Stephen King was influenced by this novel when he wrote The Shining, which came out four years after Burnt Offerings was published. This book makes the cut for most lists of Best Haunted House novels or even Best All-Time Horror Novels.
This is one of the best haunted house tales I've EVER read. Perhaps it's not as literary as The Haunting of Hill House, but it makes up for that with amazing imagery punctuated with scenes of such a chilling nature that my hands actually trembled while reading them.
When the Rolfe family finds a beach house for the summer for only $900, it seems too good to be true. Burnt Offerings is a slow-burn haunted house store, emphasis on the slow. Now that I have my gripes out of the way early, I wound up enjoying the book once the pace picked up. Would you take a tray of food to an unseen ancient woman once a day to live in your dream house for a couple months?
This is one of those, in which the house takes the center stage for a young couple, Ben and Marian Rolfe, who desperately wanted to escape the stifling heat in their tiny Brooklyn apartment and need a place to go for the summer holiday. How can I leave the vulnerable people behind and close the book, you know. I DID take notice of the introduction of the book in which , in 2014, Stephen Graham Jones forewarned the reader:Drive by the house you're interested in at night, I say. ...there's two kinds of haunted houses. There's the Stay Away kind, like we get The Amityville Horror or Poltergeist, where you are punished for your trespass, and then there's the Hungry House. Hill House was Hungry. Look ahead just a decade in 1983, when the horror shelves were spilling over, when the fan base had gone locust, was chewing through pages as fast as the publishing houses could print them. In the last paragraph of the foreword, Jones leaves us with this final warning before proceeding: The best haunted house novels, they grow their walls up around you, they give you a place to live, if you dare. While plowing through the dark, sinister, amazingly beautiful interior of the house with this unfortunate family, I was reminded of those years in which pheromones, teenage oxytocin and the magic of endorphins, triggered by chocolates, created this magic hormonal concoction for teenagers enjoying a movie such as Burnt Offerings(1976). But now in an older period of my life, I knew what this author was doing, and I DID NOT connect with the book on the same level, but nevertheless could still not leave it alone and walk away! I think the next author should try to write a novel in which the reader is pulled into the pages, get strangled in the captivating words, and then introduce that house of horrors to the unsuspecting mind.
The premise isn't bad, as horror novels go: little urban family rents a beautiful, if sadly dilapidated, grand house in the country for summer vacation, and they slowly come to discover there's an evil presence in the house which automatically rejuvenates it under just the right conditions. And Marasco simply didn't take the time to make me care about anyone in the family. Then, too, there are a number of dead ends in this book -- cul-de-sac ideas that aren't properly followed up.
Marian is a 70s housewife and she is tired of city life and coerces her husband, Ben, into checking out a summer rental with a beach that is far from the sweltering heat, stink and noise of the city. Marian immediately takes to the home as if it were her own, obsessively preparing meals for Mother and cleaning and fretting (which sounds like a vacation in Hell to me) while Ben, his aunt and their young son fritter away their days in the sun. Ben says this to Marian and she doesnt punch him the face. At another point Marian says (out loud, mind you) to Ben, You know Im the dumb one. If you like haunted houses and havent listened to this story on audio, what the heck are you waiting for?
Burnt Offerings was a bestseller and spawned a 1976 film adaptation directed by Dan Curtis and starring Oliver Reed, Karen Black, and Bette Davis.