Description (from Goodreads):
The village of Hemmersmoor is a place untouched by time and shrouded in superstition: There is the grand manor house whose occupants despise the villagers, the small pub whose regulars talk of revenants, the old mill no one dares to mention. This is where four young friends come of age—in an atmosphere thick with fear and suspicion. Their innocent games soon bring them face-to-face with the village’s darkest secrets in this eerily dispassionate, astonishingly assured novel, evocative of Stephen King’s classic short story “Children of the Corn” and infused with the spirit of the Brothers Grimm.
Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone is a strange little book. There is something very off about the town of Hemmersmoor, Germany. The community is small, insular. Neighboring towns avoid mixing with the Hemmersmoor folk, whispering that they are inbred and strange. Each chapter of this book tells a grim story from Hemmersmoor, told from the points-of-view of four children as they come of age.
There’s something really unsettling about the very dry way Kiesbye narrates each story. You are lured into thinking that the events are mundane, until something shocking happens. However, horrific events are told with the same quiet, flat tone as the rest of the tale, which I think can be a difficult skill to pull off in horror, but can also be very effective. We are shown a woman who is killed by a crowd of people, there is suggestion of cannibalism and inbreeding, and also infanticide. If you’re sensitive to that stuff, this won’t be the book for you. However, this is a great book for those who want a Teutonic read that gets under your skin and leaves you asking why. Very appropriate for this Halloween season.