For many years, I marveled at what appeared to be a genuine dearth of quality haunted house novels. Burnt Offerings has made me rethink and add to the classification. A house which is simply hostile to anyone who tries to live inside of it, and inevitably chases out those who are within. The Amityville Horror and The Elementals are stories like this. In the end, the secret is revealed — which may or may not end the evil. Devil in the Darkness and Hell House are stories of this form.
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For many years, I marveled at what appeared to be a genuine dearth of quality haunted house novels. Burnt Offerings has made me rethink and add to the classification. A house which is simply hostile to anyone who tries to live inside of it, and inevitably chases out those who are within.
The Amityville Horror and The Elementals are stories like this. In the end, the secret is revealed — which may or may not end the evil. Devil in the Darkness and Hell House are stories of this form. The Haunting of Hill House and The Shining are exemplary examples of this form, but somehow it never really clicked with me until I read Burnt Offerings. The novel features the Rolfe family, Ben and Marian and their son David.
Living in a stifling apartment in Queens, they decide to get away for the summer to a home in the country. Browsing through the newspaper, Marian finds an offer that seems too good to possibly be true: an entire mansion for rent in upstate New York for the entire season, for a ridiculously good price. The only catch given by the Allardyce family renting the home: the renters must leave food for the elderly senior Mrs.
Allardyce, who stays secluded in her room in a remote wing, behind an intricately carved door. Though Ben is suspicious, Marian convinces him that the deal is too good to pass up, and they move in. And at first, it seems like it will be the perfect summer. Marian takes care of leaving food for Mrs. Allardyce and picking up the dishes, while Ben works on prepping his school syllabus for the next semester and David enjoys the pool and the extensive mansion grounds.
But as the season progresses, uncertainty sets in and unsettling events begin to happen. Marian finds herself increasingly obsessed with the house, and Ben finds himself seeing things that cannot possibly exist.
The mansion itself seems to be changing the longer they live there. And, through it all, none of them ever see Mrs. Allardyce in person; she remains hidden in her room, behind the curiously carved door. What is happening to the house, and to them? And what does the Allardyce family want with them in the end?
And will they survive it? Burnt Offerings is a rather unconventional haunted house story. This is a very good horror novel, as can be seen just from the influence it had on the field. Personally, I would say it is not my favorite haunted house novel of all time, but it is undeniably strange and effective and worth reading by anyone interested in the subject, or the history of horror. It was, sadly, only one of two novels written by Robert Marasco, and evidently his only horror novel.
It was also adapted into a movie , which was released in You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
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Burnt Offerings is a American horror novel by Robert Marasco. Its plot follows a family who move into a summer home where each member is plagued by unusual experiences and personality changes. Published by Delacorte Press , the novel had originally been conceived as a screenplay before Marasco rewrote it into a novel. The novel was reprinted in by Valancourt Press. Ben's aunt Elizabeth also moves into the home.
Isolation and infatuation combine in the somber story of a crumbling mansion and a degenerating family. Marian Rolfe, devoted homemaker, lives for her apartment — its subtle yet elegant decoration, acquisition of antique pieces and obsessive sessions of polishing and placing meant to drive her husband and young son to distraction. What better place, then, could she possibly spend the summer than at the Allardyce Mansion with all of its elaborate rooms, carved doors, spiraling staircases, glittering chandeliers, and extensive grounds? Allardyce aka Mother , remains hidden in her chamber, requiring solitude and three meals on trays a day.