Edward Gorey


25 Points: The House with a Clock in Its Walls

The House with a Clock in Its Walls
by John Bellairs
Dell Publishing, 1973
179 pages / buy at Powell’s











  1.  I first read this novel when I was a kid, checking it out from the library. Actually, I first read John Bellairs’s novel The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn (1978), which I picked it up because of its Gorey cover and illustrations. And it’s through these novels, I think, that I first learned about Edward Gorey.
  2. I got my current copy of THwaCiIW from my friend Rebekah, last November, at her Friendsgiving party. And it’s only appropriate that Rebekah should have given me a horror novel, because my nickname for her is “Ghost Mouth.” (Thanks, Ghost Mouth!)
  3. THwaCiIW is a Gothic horror novel for kids, and it’s genuinely spooky. For one thing, it’s about a house with a goddamned clock in its walls! And not just any clock, but a doomsday clock that, when it goes off, will bring about the end of the world. The book’s protagonist, Lewis Barnavelt, along with his Uncle Jonathan, can hear the clock ticking all throughout their house, but they cannot find it. (The evil wizard who made and hid the clock cast a spell that causes the clock’s ticking to sound the same from inside every wall). And so neither the heroes nor the reader know when the clock will go off and cause the world to end. Which is like . . . Christ!
  4. The whole novel is tremendously suspenseful. Rereading it now, I still wanted to zip through to find out what would happen.
  5. I remember that, as a kid, the book scared the crap out of me. I found it frightening even now, reading it as an adult. I mean—it’s about a house with a goddamned doomsday clock hidden in its walls!

The Clock


January 24th, 2013 / 9:53 pm

FOUND/LOST/SALVAGED: The Recently Deflowered Girl, by Edward Gorey

My friend Alice Townes, layout editor at R2: The Rice Review, forwarded me this non-Rice-related link the other day to a post in the found_objects livejournal community. A guy named bo_bailey wrote: “I found this book on my friend’s 84-year-old landlord’s bookshelf. Published in 1965 with illustrations by Edward Gorey, I present to you The Recently Deflowered Girl.”

He posted scans of the whole book on Jan. 7th. Alice turned me onto it a couple days later. I fwded to my friend Amanda and planned to post on the book today. But then last night, while I was in Coney Island eating food from the  Mongolian-Russian border region and watching snow fall on the beach, Amanda was writing me back that the link I sent her didn’t work. So I tried opening it myself, and sure enough–the post seems to be gone. (If it revives in the same spot, it was here.)

Luckily, I still had the now-gone page open in my browser, so I saved all the jpegs, and was going to just post the thing myself, but then I decided to Google it first, and it turns out that some quicker-on-the-trigger fellow had already had that bright idea.  So, now with gratitude to Alice or the original tip, and to Joey Devilla for saving me a bit of work, I present to you: The Recently Deflowered Girl, by Edward Gorey.

Author Spotlight & Excerpts / 8 Comments
January 11th, 2009 / 12:47 pm