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The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John…

The House With a Clock In Its Walls (1973)

by John Bellairs

Other authors: Edward Gorey (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lewis Barnavelt (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,468417,395 (4.03)1 / 58
Recently added byprivate library, adelbrook, Ely.sium, clinechas75, cabyrum, holliereds, JanetNoRules, misterhodgson, vandinem
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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
This one I picked up because of the movie and because Eric Kripke loves the book and was involved in the movie. Kripke is the creater of Supernatural which is my current fandom obsession (and has been my fandom obsession and will probably always be). So I was curious about the book and wanted to read it before seeing the movie.

The book is a product of its time-that's to say that if early 1970's attitudes bother you then this isn't the book for you. I've seen some reviews that knock it for the whole orphan that goes to live with an unknown relative who ends up being magical. It's a product of times and values but it's also an entertaining story.
  coffeymuse | Sep 9, 2018 |
Enjoyable, an easy read. Looking forward to seeing the movie when it comes out. ( )
  tgraettinger | Sep 9, 2018 |
Before the movie trailer was released, I think I had heard of this book once or twice, because the title was instantly familiar, but for the life of me I can't seem to remember where.

Anticipating the movie adaptation coming soon, I was excited to read this book. While I can tell there are going to be some major differences between the versions of the story, it has always been my belief that it's worth experiencing both versions.

I like the world this book creates, and definitely need to read the remainder of the series as well as the other two John Bellairs series.

The world of Lewis Barnavelt is dark, mysterious, and more than a little kooky. Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman are a pair I'd enjoy hanging out with, that's for sure. They would be right at home with the Addams family or any of the characters from Neil Gaiman and Roald Dahl books.

Also, I want to live in that house, malevolent clock or no.

A fun tale and a fascinating read, I highly recommend it. Oh! And illustrations by Edward Gorey! How can you resist? ( )
  regularguy5mb | Sep 1, 2018 |
Amanda G. recommended

Lewis Barnavelt is sent to live with his Uncle Jonathan, who turns out to be a magician. Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman (also a magician), entertain Lewis, but he can tell they're hiding something - a mystery to do with Jonathan's house, which used to belong to two powerful wizards, Isaac and Selenna Izard. In an attempt to impress Tarby, a boy from school, Lewis accidentally opens the Izards' tomb on Halloween night, and a deadly countdown begins.

A short little gem of a book for those who like magic and mystery, with illustrations by Edward Gorey.


"Of course, it's real. You saw it, didn't you? But one of the troubles with human beings is that they can only see out of their own eyes." (Jonathan to Lewis, 60)

Most people do not like to be proven wrong, even when they enjoy themselves in the process. (62) ( )
  JennyArch | Aug 27, 2018 |
The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs is the first in a series which (mainly) revolve around a boy named Lewis Barnavelt and his adventures living with his uncle who is a magician. I originally searched this book out because I saw the trailer for the upcoming film and got that familiar itch of "I must go to there". Then I found out that Edward Gorey was the illustrator and that clinched the deal. Bellairs blends mystery and magic to tell the story of a lonely little boy who is suddenly orphaned and thrust into the custody of a man he has never met before. Uncle Jonathan is unlike any person that Lewis has ever known and that's not only because he's a magician. Uncle Jonathan's house (a character in its own right) contains a mystery that all starts with the man who originally owned the property and who was himself a magician...a dark wizard in fact. With the combined forces of Uncle Jonathan and their neighbor (and witchy friend) Mrs. Zimmerman they begin a desperate search for the source of a mysterious ticking inside the walls of their house because they are certain it was magicked their by the original owner who no doubt created it with nefarious intentions. Our main character, Lewis, is at the same time struggling to fit in at his new school and while trying to impress his new friend he finds himself going against his uncle's wishes and trying a little magic of his own. Surely nothing could go wrong... This was a strong start to a series which began in 1973 and ran until 2008. [A/N: Books 4-6 were written after the death of John Bellairs from outlines and notes he left behind. The remainder were written entirely by Brad Strickland.] This book was a solid 8/10 but (as a heads up) I'll be reviewing 2 & 3 in the not too distant future and they didn't quite live up to this first book. ( )
  AliceaP | Jul 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Bellairsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gorey, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Priscilla, who lets me be myself
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Lewis Barnavelt fidgeted and wiped his sweaty palms on the seat of the bus that was roaring toward New Zebedee.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142402575, Paperback)

Lewis always dreamed of living in an old house full of secret passageways, hidden rooms, and big marble fireplaces. And suddenly, after the death of his parents, he finds himself in just such a mansion--his Uncle Jonathan's. When he discovers that his big friendly uncle is also a wizard, Lewis has a hard time keeping himself from jumping up and down in his seat. Unfortunately, what Lewis doesn't bank on is the fact that the previous owner of the mansion was also a wizard--but an evil one who has placed a tick-tocking clock somewhere in the bowels of the house, marking off the minutes until the end of the world. And when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead on Halloween night, the clock only ticks louder and faster. Doomsday draws near--unless Lewis can stop the clock!

This is a deliciously chilling tale, with healthy doses of humor and compassion thrown in for good measure. Edward Gorey's unmistakable pen and ink style (as seen in many picture books, including The Shrinking of Treehorn and Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats) perfectly complements John Bellairs's wry, touching story of a lonely boy, his quirky uncle, and the ghost of mansions past. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A boy goes to live with his magician uncle in a mansion that has a clock hidden in the walls which is ticking off the minutes until doomsday.

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