Read Remark book review - The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

Book Review: The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

One-sentence summary:

Two men, canoeing down the river, stop for the night on a mysterious spot of land, from which grows willows from Hell.


OK, maybe I’m making the summary a little more dramatic than it is, but there’s definitely something eerie about those darn willows.

And while I’m at it, there’s also something eerie about the author’s name, Algernon Blackwood. Its perfect! I Googled him to see if it was a pen name (no worries if it is; just curious), and it appears that was his given name at birth. How lucky is that? It’s as if Algernon Blackwood’s career in the macabre was predestined by virtue of his name.

I read The Willows as part of a group read in the Goodreads Horror Aficionados group and rather enjoyed it (both the book and the group. Shout out to my fellow horror aficionados – heeeeyyyyy!).

My feelings are pretty similar to several other reader comments:

  • It’s a slow start as Blackwood establishes the setting.
  • Once the story gets going, it’s suspenseful and compelling.

There aren’t jump scares or bloody showdowns, so don’t go into the book expecting it to read like a modern horror movie.

I’ve been on a contemporary fiction reading kick lately, so it took me a minute to get back into the mindset of a different time and different writing style.

Once I shifted my mindset, I was hooked. It doesn’t hurt that this is a novella, getting to the point efficiently.