Crooked Houses - 'Your House, Any House, That House' by Rebecca Kuder

This anthology of haunted house stories from Egaeus Press begins with a flanking attack on the sub-genre. Rebecca Kuder's tale is that of a haunted house in a small town. People tell stories about what happened there. There was a fire, and a girl. A father tells the story to his son, but not to us, at least not directly. Instead Kuder offers a new take on the familiar, fragmenting the narrative into a series of short, oblique references, giving us the story by not telling us exactly what happened. But we can guess. There are some wonderful scenes, here, which recall the careful ambiguities of the original Modernists, Woolf in particular. 

Mrs. Raine, who always wore starched yellow blouses and used to tach math back when my mother was in school, said she knew the people who owned the house before the fire. Mrs. Raine said they were good people. But Mrs. Raine said it all so quietly and she was so faded and old that no one could hear her, or they just didn't listen.

This is typical of Kuder's approach, leaving us wondering just whose thoughts we are reading and how accurate anyone's account can be. It might not be too everyone's taste, because fans of what's loosely termed horror are accustomed to straight 'realistic' prose. But for me this is a powerful opener for the anthology and bodes well for what is to come. 


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