Book #05 – Novellas of death
Name of the Book: Novellas of death / Novellen des Todes (German)
Name of the Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Genre: Horror, Drama
Date: 22.9.2012 – 24.9.2012
Short description: (This book was published in Germany, I doubt that it is available in other languages. But I recon that there are other collections of novellas of Poe’s stories out there and that the content is the same.) This collection contains seven of Poe’s short stories, which all deal with death and the genre horror, which lead to the books name. The short stories featured are “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Masque of Red Death”, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “A Descent into the Maelström”, “The Black Cat”, “The Man of the Crowd” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”.
Own Statement: As mentioned afore, all short stories feature death or near-death-experiences and aim to frighten the reader. The oldest tale in this collection is “The Fall of the House of Usher” from 1839, and I think it says something of Poe’s literature, if people nowadays can still feel a bit chilled by his works, even though we aren’t as superstitious as Poe’s contemporaries. There is something timeless about the horror of death, obviously, but we’ve got to give Poe’s incredible writing some credit too. He tells everything in great detail and fitting language to create a wonderful atmosphere – in almost all of these short stories. My personal favourite of those seven was “The Tell-Tale Heart”, to me it was the most capturing one. It features a murderer going mad after killing someone and therefore exposing himself. In this it is very similar to “The Black Cat”, which was my second favourite piece. In both stories Poe showcases his talent in describing haunting scenes and building up tension in a story – but also revealing the mind of dubious characters. Very interesting is also “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”, though it didn’t really capture me. And very nice to read is “A Descent into the Maelström”. In this story Poe aims to describe a physical process without boring his reader, and I think he succeeds. “The Fall of the House of Usher” is amongst his most famous short stories, but honestly, I cannot say that I enjoyed it. I felt a bit let down by the ending, which lacked the certain horror or a surprising act that the others had. “The Masque of Red Death” and “The Man of the Crowd” were nice to read as well, but not very impressive. I’d recommend to book for a rainy, stormy autumn evening. The mood of the stories certainly will get to you and considering it’s length and the pace of the stories you will be able to read it in one sitting