Wylding Hall, written by Elizabeth Hand, was published in 2015 by Open Road Integrated. The audiobook was narrated by a talented cast of actors and published by Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Wylding Hall was recommended to me when I asked on /r/fantasy for a horror book which isn’t actually scary. I know, I’m probably some sort of cheater, but even though I’m desperate to finish my Bingo cards, there are some genres I just can’t read. Horror is one of them. My nightmares are bad enough without literary fuel!
Wylding Hall is structured as a series of interviews about a supernatural and mysterious event that happened to them in the 70s. Because the people who experienced the horror are now speaking in the interviews, there is definitely a sense of safety that takes away almost all of the scary factor. While reading, you know the characters are going to survive.
In the audiobook, each of the interviewed individuals in the book – a total of seven or so – has their own voice actor. Though the reader/listener is thrown straight into all of the characters, since the actors are each so distinct the book is not difficult to pick up. Add a yummy set of accents and you’ve got a feast for the ears. I don’t say this often, but I can’t imagine that reading this book is any better than listening to it.
I have read criticisms that Wylding Hall doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion. It’s true that not all questions are answered, but I don’t think that’s to the detriment of the book. Wylding Hall is an ambiance book, not a story or plot book. And that ambiance is incredible – a dread that looms just as heavily as the titular house does.
If you want a spooky book – not a scary one, but one full of moody atmosphere and and eerie aura – I highly recommend listening to Wylding Hall.
And you know, the accents. Those are quite the bonus 😉