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The Willows

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood
By: (1869-1951)

A tale of horror in which a pleasant sojourn down the Danube tumbles terrifyingly awry as the veil between this world and an unfathomably weird dimension is inadvertently pierced by an innocent pair of vacationers, “The Willows”, arguably Algernon Blackwood’s seminal contribution to supernatural literature, has had a lasting influence on the field. No less a personage than H. P. Lovecraft describing it as “…the greatest weird tale ever written.” A reading will reveal a clear influence to one familiar with Lovecraft’s work. The masterful handling of mystery and suspense that build to a quite satisfyingly unnerving crescendo may be particularly noted by the discerning aficionado of the genre.

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Algernon Blackwood (1907)


After leaving Vienna, and long before you come to Budapest, the Danube enters a region of singular loneliness and desolation, where its waters spread away on all sides regardless of a main channel, and the country becomes a swamp for miles upon miles, covered by a vast sea of low willow bushes. On the big maps this deserted area is painted in a fluffy blue, growing fainter in color as it leaves the banks, and across it may be seen in large straggling letters the word Sumpfe, meaning marshes.

In high flood this great acreage of sand, shingle beds, and willow grown islands is almost topped by the water, but in normal seasons the bushes bend and rustle in the free winds, showing their silver leaves to the sunshine in an ever moving plain of bewildering beauty. These willows never attain to the dignity of trees; they have no rigid trunks; they remain humble bushes, with rounded tops and soft outline, swaying on slender stems that answer to the least pressure of the wind; supple as grasses, and so continually shifting that they somehow give the impression that the entire plain is moving and alive... Continue reading book >>

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