Review: Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand

When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. There they create the album that will make their reputation, but at a terrifying cost: Julian Blake, the group’s lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen or heard from again.

Now, years later, the surviving musicians, along with their friends and lovers—including a psychic, a photographer, and the band’s manager—meet with a young documentary filmmaker to tell their own versions of what happened that summer. But whose story is true? And what really happened to Julian Blake?

Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand. Narrated by multi-cast. Published by Blackstone Audio, 2015. Run time is 4 hours and 37 minutes.

I went in to this book not really knowing anything about it other then the cover is gorgeous. Wylding Hall is a very quick and entertaining story. It is told through multiple interviews with each character. Everyone has their own version of what exactly happened. This book would make such an epic faux documentary show on Netflix or some place like that.

Having the story narrated by multiple people made the story feel much more real. More alive. Everyone did such a phenomenal job with their part. The personalities were pegged just right. For such a surreal story, it felt so believable. I think that it was a multiple cast narration really helped sell that point. The way everyone sells their story… it just felt like non-fiction. Like a real interview. It was very well done. Also, you didn’t know who was telling the truth. Who do you trust? What REALLY went down?

My only real complaint is that this story was just way too short! I wanted to know so much more and it ends with way more questions then answers. I would have loved to have known more back story on some of the key things mentioned, such as the wren hunt, the ruins and the old pub photos. The lack of details there almost made me feel like perhaps I missed something or skipped a chapter or something. I don’t think it needed a lot of extra details or over details, but feeling like you missed some of the story is never a good feeling to end a book on. The ending was so abrupt and I’m not sure it was a totally satisfying with what happened to Julian. Just needed a little bit more to fully flesh out the end maybe?

Still had a blast listening to this book. Very entertaining and over way too soon.


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