Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

Homebody

HomebodyHomebody by Orson Scott Card

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I guess if Stephen King, an otherwise fine writer, can produce something as bad as The Tommyknockers, I should be able to forgive Orson Scott Card for writing Homebody.  But the book is just so damned awful that it’s hard to do so.

Card is adept at storytelling.  His characterizations and plots are usually way above the bar, but in this one, the characters’ motivations change from chapter to chapter, and the main character, Don Lark, can be such a nasty person to the people he encounters from one chapter to the next.  The plot jumps all over the place, and there are a lot of seemingly important details that appear long enough to make Don look like an ass, and then disappear, never to be mentioned again.  It was almost as if Card himself didn’t care much for the characters, and as a result, we can’t, either.  It reads like a sophomoric attempt at writing a horror novel, and even the bits that are supposed to be scary, aren’t.

It also doesn’t help that the plot (a malicious house with a mind of its own takes over people’s souls, and keeps them from leaving) has been used and re-used many times over.  John Coyne’s The Legacy comes to mind, as does Graham Joyce’s The House of Lost Dreams, and both of those (yes, even The Legacy) are better books than this one.   Shoot, Monster House is a better attempt at this sort of story than Homebody.

This makes the second horror novel by Card that I’ve read (Lost Boy being the first), and neither one of them leapt out at me as a superb example of the genre.  I guess I’ll probably pass on Treasure Box, too, unless someone can convince me otherwise….

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February 26, 2007 - Posted by | Adult Fiction, Reviews

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