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9781416553441

The House Next Door

Siddons, Anne Rivers

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An unparalleled picture of that vibrant but dark intersection where the Old and the New South collide.

Thirtysomething Colquitt and Walter Kennedy live in a charming, peaceful suburb of newly bustling Atlanta, Georgia. Life is made up of enjoyable work, long, lazy weekends, and the company of good neighbors. Then, to their shock, construction starts on the vacant lot next door, a wooded hillside they'd believed would always remain undeveloped. Disappointed by their diminished privacy, Colquitt and Walter soon realize something more is wrong with the house next door. Surely the house can't be "haunted," yet it seems to destroy the goodness of every person who comes to live in it, until the entire heart of this friendly neighborhood threatens to be torn apart.

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Review:

Anne Rivers Siddons is a writer of literary fiction whose one foray into the horror genre is this remarkable 1978 novel, The House Next Door. The setting is a wealthy suburb in Atlanta where an ambitious young architect is building a dramatically contemporary house. The novel uses a frame device to put three short stories under a single cover: as each of three families moves into the house in succession, we watch the bad things that happen to them and eventually force them to leave. But the frame itself--the observations of an urbane and sophisticated couple who live next door and become close friends with the architect--is the most deeply involving story in the book.

Stephen King was so impressed by The House Next Door that when he wrote Danse Macabre, his personal tour of the horror genre, he sought out Siddons for an interview. She told him, "The haunted house has always spoken specially and directly to me as the emblem of particular horror. Maybe it's because, to a woman, her house is so much more than that: it is kingdom, responsibility, comfort, total world to her.... It is an extension of ourselves; it tolls in answer to one of the most basic chords mankind will ever hear.... So basic is it that the desecration of it, the corruption, as it were, by something alien takes on a peculiar and bone-deep horror and disgust."

Siddons was also fascinated by how the supernatural has the power to disturb the complacent rich and their comfortable little world: "What has the unspeakable and the unbelievable got to do with second homes and tax shelters and private schools for the kids and a pâté in every terrine and a BMW in every garage? Primitive man might howl before his returning dead and point; his neighbor would see, and howl along with him.... The resident of Fox Run Chase who meets a ghoulie out by the hot tub is going to be frozen dead in his or her Nikes on the tennis courts the next day if he or she persists in gabbling about it. And there he is, alone with the horror and ostracized on all sides. It's a double turn of the screw."

One caveat: some people find the ending a false note that mars the effect. Even so, The House Next Door is an exquisite horror novel. --Fiona Webster

About the Author:

Anne Rivers Siddons was born in a small railroad town just south of Atlanta, where her family has lived for six generations. She attended Auburn University and later joined the staff of Atlanta magazine. Her first novel, Heartbreak Hotel, a story of her college days at Auburn, was later made into a movie called Heart of Dixie, starring Ally Sheedy. Since then she has written fifteen more novels, many of which have been bestsellers. Recently, a movie version of her later novel The House Next Door was aired on LifeTime Network. Ms. Siddons now divides her time between Atlanta and Brooklin, Maine.

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 206 x 137 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. An unparalleled picture of that vibrant but dark intersection where the Old and the New South collide. Thirtysomething Colquitt and Walter Kennedy live in a charming, peaceful suburb of newly bustling Atlanta, Georgia. Life is made up of enjoyable work, long, lazy weekends, and the company of good neighbors. Then, to their shock, construction starts on the vacant lot next door, a wooded hillside they d believed would always remain undeveloped. Disappointed by their diminished privacy, Colquitt and Walter soon realize something more is wrong with the house next door. Surely the house can t be haunted, yet it seems to destroy the goodness of every person who comes to live in it, until the entire heart of this friendly neighborhood threatens to be torn apart. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781416553441

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. 136mm x 25mm x 211mm. Paperback. An unparalleled picture of that vibrant but dark intersection where the Old and the New South collide.Thirtysomething Colquitt and Walter Kennedy live in a charming, peaceful suburb of new.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 356 pages. 0.304. Bookseller Inventory # 9781416553441

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 206 x 137 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. An unparalleled picture of that vibrant but dark intersection where the Old and the New South collide. Thirtysomething Colquitt and Walter Kennedy live in a charming, peaceful suburb of newly bustling Atlanta, Georgia. Life is made up of enjoyable work, long, lazy weekends, and the company of good neighbors. Then, to their shock, construction starts on the vacant lot next door, a wooded hillside they d believed would always remain undeveloped. Disappointed by their diminished privacy, Colquitt and Walter soon realize something more is wrong with the house next door. Surely the house can t be haunted, yet it seems to destroy the goodness of every person who comes to live in it, until the entire heart of this friendly neighborhood threatens to be torn apart. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781416553441

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