Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye
Published by Penguin Books
Published 25 September 2012
205 pages

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Shirley Jackson meets The Twilight Zone in this riveting novel of supernatural horror.

A village on the Devil‘s Moor: a place untouched by time and shrouded in superstition. There is the grand manor house whose occupants despise the villagers, the small pub whose regulars talk of revenants, the old mill no one dares to mention. This is where four young friends come of age—in an atmosphere thick with fear and suspicion. Their innocent games soon bring them face-to-face with the village‘s darkest secrets in this eerily dispassionate, astonishingly assured novel, infused with the spirit of the Brothers Grimm and evocative of Stephen King‘s classic short story “Children of the Corn” and the films The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke and Village of the Damned by Wolf Rilla.


Time is of no importance.


I really enjoyed Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone but it was not as good as I expected it to be, given how many rave reviews I’ve read. I expected it to be a lot scarier but the book is tamer than I expected. Nevertheless, it is a good book and an enjoyable read. The book is set in a rural village in Germany where all manner of unhealthy things thrive including paranoia, superstition, prejudice and perhaps even incest. At times, the book reminded me of the excellent and underrated early story by Stephen King, Children of the Corn tainted forever by the awful movies. This is not a novel so much as a serious of unsettling stories focusing on various strange, disquieting incidents in the lives of four children who managed to move away from the village and have returned for a funeral. In one particularly gory tale, a woman and her five children are slaughtered by the villagers because they suspect her award-winning pies have been made with human flesh and then her house is set on fire – with her husband still inside. Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone is well-written, creepy and unsettling but falls a little short of being fantastic. I’d recommend it though.




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