Going into a Dark House, Paperback Book

Going into a Dark House Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Molly Fielding's mother had been a terrible woman...' A terrible woman indeed.

One need only to look at the old sepia photograph to see a vision of nastiness.

The look of cunning, the self-satisfied smile, the aura of hauteur as she watches the little Italian photographer go about his business.

They say the camera never lies, but maybe this one did...'Going into the Dark House', the title story of Jane Gardam's passionate new collection, brilliantly captures the subtly subversive qualities of her art.

Quietly mesmeric and quite beautifully written, these ten stories are a delight.


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As ever, a superlative collection of short stories in Jane Gardam's familiar settings of Yorkshire and London. I especially enjoyed the three inter-connected final stories(Telegony) about Molly Fielding, her mother and daughter.Bevis was also a superb evocation with a lovely twist at the end.

Review by

This set of short stories could be subtitled <i>Tales of Spiritual Starvation</i>. A duchess sweeps cheeses and fruit into her handbag at a charity event; market gardeners wade through produce but can barely set a table of food for their children or themselves; other children grow into desiccated high-flyers.There is little outright cruelty. Usually the suffering is caused by people (usually women) who are simply stripped clean of imagination or emotional generosity. Mild affectionateness covers the chill incapacity to love.There are quite a few ghosts, real or otherwise. The stories move back and forth across the border of the supernatural. But I believe the author always uses ghosts simply as a device to sketch character and real-world circumstance, like an actor using space off-stage, or a photographer ready to perch in any awkward or risky spot to catch the image. Nuns also come into it more than once.The last three pieces are connected under the title "Telegony", a study of the complex interweave of mother and daughter, and its lingering effects.The cover of the edition I read is taken from the painting <i>The Harvest is the End of the World and the Reapers are Angels</i> by Roger Wagner. It is the only depiction of Judgement Day that I have ever found frightening.

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