Wylding Hall Elizabeth Hand

Wylding Hall is a haunting narrative about strange goings-on at a ruined English country manor of the same name. Hand tells the tale of Windhollow Faire through interleaved fragments of interviews with band members, their manager, a (now ex-) girlfriend, a rock music reporter, and the son of a local villager.

Hand hits hard from the get-go, bouncing between four or five different points of view, without much in the way of introductions. As the story progresses, we come to know the four remaining band members, we learn of the death of the former leading lady, Arianna, and we are told of the enigmatic male lead, Julian Blake.

Wylding Hall itself is as much a character as the people in the book. Locked rooms, an ancient burial mound, impossibly-long staircases, shifting passageways, and a hidden library all add to the uneasy ambiance cultivated so meticulously by Hand.

Every once in a while I read something so unsettling and disquieting that it is exhilerating. When I first read Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, my mind was besieged by worry that maybe, just maybe, the Great Old Ones truly were out there. After finishing Danielewski's House of Leaves, I (quite irrationally) mistrusted architecture for weeks. Wylding Hall joins this ensemble of the unnerving.

tl;dr: Get your hands on this book, and read it. I'd wager that you will have a hard time putting it down, and the final stretches of the plot will keep you engaged and slightly horrified. It'll be great.

James (@iamjameshunt) works on the Internet, spends his weekends developing new and interesting bits of software and his nights trying to make sense of research papers.