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The Lurker at the Threshold by H. P.…
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The Lurker at the Threshold (1945)

by H. P. Lovecraft, August Derleth

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (10)  French (4)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Ambrose Dewart inherits an old mansion in rural Massachusetts and as he investigates his family history, the sinister estate begins to take hold on him...

This novel is actually mostly written by August Derleth from a few fragments left by Lovecraft after his death. As a result, the prose is somewhat less...impenetrable (apart from a few passages written in olde English)...and, there's dialogue! But if you've read much Lovecraft already, the story and content is going feel like more of the same. If you're new to his work and his world, it may serve as a decent introduction. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
There are two important things about this book. Firstly, despite the covers, this is NOT by HP Lovecraft. It's entirely by August Derleth, with only a couple of small details inspired by notes left by Lovecraft. This is a Derleth novel and nothing more. Secondly, it's really not very good.

The book has three distinct phases with specific narrators. The first does a reasonable job of seeming Lovecraftesque, though the words don't flow as smoothly and the story seems somehow congested. However, the protagonist is okay, and the area and house are portrayed quite evocatively at times. I liked some of the details, like the significance of the frogs. On the downside, Derleth seems to mash elements of Lovecraft Country together carelessly, portraying Dunwich as very much like Innsmouth when this doesn't seem to fit the original story, where its stolid inhabitants were horrified and mystified by supernatural forces.

The second shows up a lot of Derleth's bad habits: substantial quotes that are supposed to add atmosphere but just bog things down, and a repetitiveness that makes it frustrating. The narrator seems perversely obtuse; the idea may be that he's influenced by sinister powers, but if so it wasn't convincing, and he mostly seems to bumble around like an idiot. The Mythos elements previously laid down are jumbled and conflated with other scraps of ideas, losing any sense of distinctiveness they had established.

Finally, there's an incredibly compressed, rushed bodge of an ending. Here Derleth tosses out most of what's previously been accomplished. A stock detective character takes over, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the supernatural and entirely unfazed by the information he receives. Our narrator is a pedantic, tiresome bore of an idiot who seems to have very little interest in any of it. Vast amounts of information are recycled, others are retconned (the entirety of the Mythos explanation, for a start) and everything is told at great length and in contortedly dull prose. The story is concluded offstage in the least interesting way possible.

Despite this agonisingly lengthy word vomit, I didn't locate a clear explanation. I don't mean a real explanation of what's going on; that's common enough in weird fiction. I mean, it's never very clear to me what Derleth thought was going on, between the various bits of plot he seems to try and set up at various stages and his contradictory explanations.

The characterisation is minimal, the plot very much the same as he's used in various short stories but padded to novel length.

I read this one for general interest in the genre and its history, but that's the only circumstance in which I could recommend doing so. ( )
  Shimmin | May 16, 2017 |
I'd heard some bad things about Derleth's posthumous collaborations with Lovecraft, how he had a tendency to over-categorise the Mythos and apply a simplistic Christian morality on creatures whose very power to chill stemmed from the fact that they were utterly beyond human notions of good or evil. Despite that, I found this quite an effective and well written work, and Derleth's vision, if not entirely in keeping with Lovecraft's own, was not wholly incompatible either. There's a lot of good, if derivative, stuff in here and a nice sense of sustained menace running throughout the piece. Derleth might not have "got" Lovecraft entirely, but he understood enough about what made him an effective horror writer as regards the basics of tone, imagery, characterisation, and plot not to drop the ball. Only the last act really lets the piece down, leaving the reader on a distinctly "that's it? moment. A pity considering all the good work leading up to it. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
I'd heard some bad things about Derleth's posthumous collaborations with Lovecraft, how he had a tendency to over-categorise the Mythos and apply a simplistic Christian morality on creatures whose very power to chill stemmed from the fact that they were utterly beyond human notions of good or evil. Despite that, I found this quite an effective and well written work, and Derleth's vision, if not entirely in keeping with Lovecraft's own, was not wholly incompatible either. There's a lot of good, if derivative, stuff in here and a nice sense of sustained menace running throughout the piece. Derleth might not have "got" Lovecraft entirely, but he understood enough about what made him an effective horror writer as regards the basics of tone, imagery, characterisation, and plot not to drop the ball. Only the last act really lets the piece down, leaving the reader on a distinctly "that's it? moment. A pity considering all the good work leading up to it. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
This is the first H.P. Lovecraft (or August Derleth) I've read and I was a little baffled by it. I had heard so much about Lovecraft and the Chthulhu mythos, so I expected something truly eerie and unusual, but this story didn't quite live up to the hype. It turns out that this story is a "collaboration" between Lovecraft and Derleth, but is disputed (according to Wikipedia). Nothing really tells you this on the cover or inside pages of the book, except for the copyright which, it seems, is owned by the Derleth family. I feel that this was kind of deceptive, and that I have not really read any Lovecraft.

The story itself is intriguing (a mystery going back generations, weird noises, disappearances and murders), but the author(s) use the technique of telling the same tale from various points of view -- something Stephen King is extremely good at, I can see where he gets it -- in such a long-winded way, that it detracts from the story. It becomes a bit boring. I think it would have been better as a short story. ( )
  Marse | Mar 14, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lovecraft, H. P.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Derleth, Augustmain authorall editionsconfirmed
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Görden, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Görden, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kanellakis, ThemistoklesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
von Charpentier, AnnetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nördlich von Arkham erheben sich düstere, wilde und dicht bewaldete, ja, fast unpassierbare Hügel, ein Gebiet, durch das sich der Miskatonic auf seinem Weg zum Meer schlängelt und den Wald an einer Seite begrenzt.
Mich hatte die Dringlichkeit des Briefes meines Cousins Ambrose Dewart sehr bewegt, und ich traf daher eine Woche nach dem Erhalt des Schreibens in Billington House ein.
Stephen Bates kam am Morgen des siebten April 1924 ins Büro von Dr. Seneca Lapham auf dem Campus der Miskatonic-Universität auf Rat von Dr. Armitage Harper, dem ehemaligen Bibliotheksangestellten.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 088184408X, Mass Market Paperback)

He is not to open the door which leads to the strange time and place, nor to invite Him Who lurks at the threshold . . ." went the warning in the old family manuscript that Ambrose Dewart discovered when he returned to his ancestral home in the deep woods of rural Massachusetts. Dewart's investigations into his family's sinister past eventually lead to the unspeakable revelations of The Great Old Ones who wait on the boundaries of space and time for someone to summon them to earth.

Acclaimed cult horror writer H. P. Lovecraft's notes and outlines for this tale of uncanny terror were completed by August Derleth, his friend and future publisher.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

He is not to open the door which leads to the strange time and place, nor to invite Him Who lurks at the threshold ... went the warning in the old family manuscript that Ambrose Dewart discovered when he returned to his ancestral home in the deep woods of rural Massachusetts. Dewart's investigations into his family's sinister past eventually lead to the unspeakable revelations of The Great Old Ones who wait on the boundaries of space and time for someone to summon them to earth.… (more)

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