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The Damned   By: (1869-1951)

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In Algernon Blackwood's novel, The Damned, readers are thrust into a chilling and atmospheric narrative that exquisitely blurs the boundaries of the supernatural and the psychological. Set in post-World War I England, the story follows a group of individuals who encounter inexplicable and eerie occurrences that challenge their understanding of the world around them.

One of the standout features of The Damned is Blackwood's remarkable prose, which effortlessly transports readers into a world shrouded in darkness and uncertainty. Through vivid descriptions and a masterful command of language, he paints a hauntingly atmospheric landscape that perfectly encapsulates the sense of unease and dread that permeates the story.

Blackwood also delves deeply into the psyche of his characters, effectively exploring their fears and vulnerabilities while delving into the broader themes of humanity's connection with the supernatural. As the characters grapple with their own inner demons, readers are exposed to an exploration of the human condition from a uniquely sinister perspective.

Moreover, the pacing of the novel is superbly executed, with Blackwood expertly building suspense and tension with each passing page. The slow burn approach effectively intensifies the unease, keeping readers on edge, as they eagerly anticipate the next chilling revelation.

While the supernatural elements play a central role in The Damned, Blackwood skillfully balances them with psychological complexities, portraying a fascinating clash between the seen and unseen worlds. This blurring of boundaries adds a layer of ambiguity that continuously leaves readers questioning their own perceptions, deepening the sense of mystery and intrigue.

However, some readers may find themselves desiring a fuller resolution to certain plot threads. Blackwood opts for a more open-ended conclusion, preferring to leave certain aspects of the narrative unanswered. While this stylistic choice may be intentional, some readers may find it unsatisfying or crave a greater sense of closure.

In conclusion, Algernon Blackwood's The Damned is a gripping and atmospheric masterpiece that envelops readers in a world of supernatural mystery and psychological depth. With its impeccable prose, well-drawn characters, and skillful blending of the supernatural and psychological, it is a must-read for fans of the horror genre. Blackwood's ability to instill a sense of lingering unease and leave readers questioning the nature of reality is a testament to his storytelling prowess.

First Page:


Algernon Blackwood


Chapter I

"I'm over forty, Frances, and rather set in my ways," I said good naturedly, ready to yield if she insisted that our going together on the visit involved her happiness. "My work is rather heavy just now too, as you know. The question is, could I work there with a lot of unassorted people in the house?"

"Mabel doesn't mention any other people, Bill," was my sister's rejoinder. "I gather she's alone as well as lonely."

By the way she looked sideways out of the window at nothing, it was obvious she was disappointed, but to my surprise she did not urge the point; and as I glanced at Mrs. Franklyn's invitation lying upon her sloping lap, the neat, childish handwriting conjured up a mental picture of the banker's widow, with her timid, insignificant personality, her pale grey eyes and her expression as of a backward child. I thought, too, of the roomy country mansion her late husband had altered to suit his particular needs, and of my visit to it a few years ago when its barren spaciousness suggested a wing of Kensington Museum fitted up temporarily as a place to eat and sleep in. Comparing it mentally with the poky Chelsea flat where I and my sister kept impecunious house, I realized other points as well. Unworthy details flashed across me to entice: the fine library, the organ, the quiet work room I should have, perfect service, the delicious cup of early tea, and hot baths at any moment of the day without a geyser!

"It's a longish visit, a month isn't it?" I hedged, smiling at the details that seduced me, and ashamed of my man's selfishness, yet knowing that Frances expected it of me... Continue reading book >>

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