The Other House
by Henry James, introduction by Louis Begley
This terse and startling novel, written just before The Spoils of Poynton and What Maisie Knew, is the story of a struggle for possession—and of its devastating consequences. Three women seek to secure the affections of one man, while he, in turn, tries to satisfy them all. But in the middle of this contest of wills stands his unwitting and vulnerable young daughter. The savage conclusion of The Other House makes it one of the most disturbing and memorable of Henry James’s depictions of the uncontrollable passions that lie beneath the polished veneer of civilized life.
Oh blest Other House, which gives me thus at every step a precedent, a divine little light to walk by… —Henry James
The Other House is the story of a brutal crime, and its violence is not duplicated in any of Henry James's other works...[It] takes place in broad British daylight, and the passions which explode in it with such force are acted out on disciplined lawns between stately British houses, deriving their well—founded security from a banking fortune. The Other House is intensely British in its motives and emotions; and its intensity derives precisely from the fact that when the calm is broken, and the conflict...is engaged the contrast is as of a violent rush of air into a place of quiet...
— Leon Edel
The Other House contains some of the most harrowing, compressed, and ambiguous scenes James ever wrote.
— Threepenny Review
Played out on the tidy lawns between two aristocratic houses, the staid Eastmead and the boisterous Bounds, a desperately tangled love-scrimmage spirals into a crime of unspeakable brutality, with a deeply unsettling climax. Readers left puzzled by the murky pychosexual terror of James's The Turn of The Screw should give this passionate melodrama a try.
— Library Journal