The Uninvited Guests

By Sadie Jones

Book Cover: The Uninvited GuestsThis is just the strangest little book! Kinsey recommended it last year as a good spooky story for Halloween reading, and I’ve only now gotten around to reading it. I’m not even sure quite what to think. Oh, I liked it a lot, but was never quite sure where I was standing with it, either.

It started as one of those impoverished English gentry books (you know, where the insular family starts to decay along with their surroundings?); it reminded me a bit of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. Then things took a turn for the worse and it was a bit of an adult Lord of the Flies, which was actually pretty horrifying, though still in a disconcertingly genteel way. As the various mysteries were revealed, though, I realized exactly what this book is: it is a written Edward Gorey illustration.

In fact, it is so much Edward Gorey that when I searched to find a representative illustration, I found the following eight that are literally characters or scenes from the book. I’m putting them after the cut, not because they are spoilers, really, but so I don’t fill up the entire home page with lots and lots of Gorey illustrations. Continue reading

The Uninvited Guests

A couple of weeks ago Anna posted about A City of Ghosts for Halloween, and I wished I had read something spooky so I would have a seasonal recommendation, too. If I had just finished The Uninvited Guests a bit earlier, I could have told you all to go read the creepiest thing I have come across in quite a while.

The book starts off as a fairly typical English house party story–an upper-class family has guests for the weekend, and everyone is very concerned with dressing for dinner and who will marry who, etc. But then things take . . . a turn. I don’t want to talk about the plot too much, because I don’t want to give anything away, so instead I’m going to talk about how the book made me feel. Which was waaay creeped out. I was initially reading this before I went to bed at night, but I started feeling such a sense of dread after each chapter that I had to start reading it only during daylight hours. Even when nothing obviously bad was happening, things still felt so ominous that at times I wasn’t sure I could finish the book. But I kept going and I was glad I did–the author did a beautiful job of building up to a very eerie climax, raising the tension so slowly that I almost didn’t notice at first.

And now I am going to go read Anne of Green Gables or The Railway Children or something else wholesome and happy so that I can sleep at night again.