The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

A new house in a suburban Atlanta neighborhood spells disaster for all its inhabitants.

It’s awfully hard to be frightened when you’re sitting on a rooftop deck in West Hollywood, letting the setting sun dry your bathing suit after discovering that you can float like a cork in the saltwater pool.

But boy, oh, boy, did Anne Rivers Siddons come close.

The House Next Door is a classic haunting story. Evil house, unsuspecting occupants, chaos ensues. It’s so simple–the best gothic tales always are–but the rich characters and deft plotting create a depth in which the horror grows like kudzu. Smother and destroy.

In addition to giving a good scare, Rivers Siddons has also crafted a perceptive slice of Americana, making it easy to see why Stephen King admires this book so much. The voices she creates for her characters are homegrown and distinctly American, just like his are, and there’s so much pleasure to be found in the nuances of their interactions that the scares are that much more shocking. They sneak up on you while you’re enjoying the way the characters gossip and bicker and persevere and love.

So in that sense, it makes perfect sense that I read the book in the distinctly un-Gothic California sun. Just like the ultramodern brand-new house that destroys the lives of the families that try to call it home, the book shines with a seductive radiance.

9 thoughts on “The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons”

  1. I read this right after I read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson for Carl V.’s challenge. I really liked it. The house seems so alluring, seductive even…Reminded me a little of Poltergiest, which is one of my fav horror movies of all time.

    Love your blog – adding it to my blogroll! 🙂

  2. just saw the movie. normally im not into books that are made into movies because they take away a lot of elements, but i saw the movie before i realized it was based off a book. the movie was awsome. now that i know its a book im gonna have to get it. if you have read the book get the movie. (itunes) . cant wait to read. i love spooky books and the supernatural!!!

  3. Man this book was scary, reminds of this house I painted once. This house looked like any other mansion but we had to stay over there and it give me and my wife really bad dreams and she saw ghost like 5 times. The owners didn’t think anything of it but when I told there daughter she said that her friend that had stayed there had told her the same thing as she turned white. Worst of all it was her studio apt above the garage that had all the activity. Long story but my wife saw a murder that happened a long time ago.

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