This was a great short story that I loved from beginning to end. A perfect way to start off anyone's Halloween reading.
We follow a narrator from the 1915s who begins to tell of his and his uncle's obsession with an abandoned house located in Providence, Rhode Island. The narrator and his uncle become intrigued with the house because they are starting to realize a pattern of deaths associated with the house.
Though the story is quite slow to start, one realizes that our narrator is almost afraid to remember what happened with the 'shunned house'. We jump forward and backward at times in the same paragraph. You realize with a growing sense of dread that something awful has happened to the narrator and that he is forcing himself to reveal it to his audience.
When the narrator starts to describe the former inhabitants of the house is where things start to get interesting.
Of course as readers we know that something is off about the house. But reading how the narrator and his uncle investigated all of the former owners and figured out what was done to cause such a black cloud to hang over the house, especially the basement was really great.
The way that Lovecraft describes the house and the sounds and smell of it when the narrator and his uncle entered it would have had me hot footing it out of there with the quickness.
The writing at times I think may frustrate some readers. Maybe because you just want the narrator to tell the story to you straight. As I said, sometimes within a single paragraph he would allude to something and then back off on it, then go back and allude to it again. It can be a bit maddening while reading.
The flow after the first couple of pages was really good. The first few pages I thought were okay and basic. But once you get into who lived at the house was when the book starts moving at a brisk pace that doesn't let up until the end.
The setting of "The Shunned House" was perfectly done. I felt like I have been in a house like this when I was a kid. I swear every person has a house that feels off like this in their neighborhood growing up. You just feel evil/hostility emanating from the thing.
The ending of the story was a bit anti-climatic. I don't want to spoil for anyone else. But I was hoping for something bigger than a kind of bow on top of it resolution that didn't really fit with the rest of the story.
That said, I still loved this story.