The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
If one of the family did but gurgle in his throat, a bystander would be likely enough to whisper, between jest and earnest, “He has Maule’s blood to drink!”
"The House of the Seven Gables" is supposedly a classic read, but a highly forgettable one. The story is narrated in third person, told by a rather abstracted and somewhat indifferent narrator that describes in detail the history of the house and its occupants. Hawthorne is unquestionably a talented writer with a wide array of vocabulary that corresponds well with the Gothic genre, however, the author is guilty of overwriting. The first chapter alone describes the layout of the house and its history, it was unnecessarily descriptive to the point that I wondered when the reader would be introduced to a single character in the story. It is not until the final few pages of the first chapter that the reader encounters dialogue, and it is so unaccountably short that the reader is hardly acquainted with the house's founder, Colonel Pyncheon, before his life takes a tragic turn.
Admittedly, I did not finish the entire novel. I was disinterested from the start, but this long-drawn out narrative dissipated into nothingness once the reader is finally acquainted with the main character of the present day, Hepzibah Pyncheon, a decrepit old sinister that is resentful towards the plebeians that continually snub her after she opens up a shop in her patrimonial estate. It was at this point that I closed the book and decided there is hardly anything scary or truly Gothic to entice me further. Indeed, this is a classic novel, but it's not the one for me. I was looking forward to reading Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," but after this novel I might just put it towards the end of my tbr list. All in all, I applaud the efforts of this author, but I find Seven Gables is a far-cry from the classic pieces of literature that belong to the Gothic genre of that time period.
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