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The Willows

Algernon Blackwood

Book Overview: 

A tale of horror in which a pleasant sojourn down the Danube tumbles terrifyingly awry as the veil between this world and an unfathomably weird dimension is inadvertently pierced by an innocent pair of vacationers, “The Willows”, arguably Algernon Blackwood’s seminal contribution to supernatural literature, has had a lasting influence on the field. No less a personage than H. P. Lovecraft describing it as “…the greatest weird tale ever written.” A reading will reveal a clear influence to one familiar with Lovecraft’s work. The masterful handling of mystery and suspense that build to a quite satisfyingly unnerving crescendo may be particularly noted by the discerning aficionado of the genre.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ht in a sort of flat-bottomed boat, steering with a long oar, and being carried down the opposite shore at a tremendous pace. He apparently was looking across in our direction, but the distance was too great and the light too uncertain for us to make out very plainly what he was about. It seemed to me that he was gesticulating and making signs at us. His voice came across the water to us shouting something furiously, but the wind drowned it so that no single word was audible. There was something curious about the whole appearance—man, boat, signs, voice—that made an impression on me out of all proportion to its cause.

"He's crossing himself!" I cried. "Look, he's making the sign of the
Cross!"

"I believe you're right," the Swede said, shading his eyes with his hand and watching the man out of sight. He seemed to be gone in a moment, melting away down there into the sea of willows where the sun caught them in the bend of the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

H. P. Lovecraft called "The Willows", by Algernon Blackwood a great name by the way, the "best weird tale of all time", you be the judge ... In the early part of the Twentieth Century, two experienced young adventurers decided to take a canoe trip, down the famous Danube River during the summer,...more

I began the long journey from my computer desk to my futon/couch/bed in order to partake in reading the next story from the devilish collection of unspeakable horrors that some have dared call The Weird, but which I will not even give name to in fear of invoking the ire of the those powers beyond...more

Loved Algernon Blackwood's The Willows! Everything about the wilderness the protagonists travel through exudes creepiness. This wilderness infects those who travel through it with dread and a sense of foreboding. For those who are paranoid that the world is out to get them, this story will confir...more

Blackwood was a master of setting and intimate characterization.

Using a minimalistic approach to casting and dialogue, he nonetheless was able to create a scene of almost photographic understanding and omniscience.

Like The Wendigo, The Willows personifies elements of nature to create a chilling...more

“Έψαξα παντού για μια απόδειξη της πραγματικότητας, όταν καθόλη τη διάρκεια, κατάλαβα πολύ καλά ότι το επίπεδο πραγματικότητας είχε αλλάξει»

Η ιστορία δυο φίλων που ταξιδεύουν με κανό, διασχίζοντας τον ποταμό Δούναβη, αναζητώντας μια περιπετειώδη εμπειρία στην Ευρώπη.
Μπαίνοντας στην Ουγγαρία, τα...more

What a beautifully written atmospheric and creepy story this was. Timeless in the quality of the eerie telling of this fine strange tale. It is a short story yet it leaves you satisfied without the need for a lengthy book. Very imaginative writing weaves a slow and steady building of a foreboding...more

Published in the early 1900s as part of a collection of stories, H.P. Lovecraft felt that Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows was simply the greatest tale of the supernatural in English literature. It is a novella, and has a bare minimum of dialog between the narrator and his good friend, the Swede....more

I am a big fan of Horror, including the classics, but I feel like massive POSER having just now experienced for the first time Algernon Blackwood’s inspiring novella of otherworldly dread. This is simply such a superbly crafted tale that it is not hard to see why H.P. Lovecraft (whose work I lov...more

...something so big and yet immaterial, out of reach and yet reaching for you; two men on a canoe trip down the Danube - what wonders! what beauty! what bliss! - find there are worlds and things beyond us, terrible and awe-inspiring things, inexplicable things, things that rise from the willows,...more

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