House Across the White


A Companion to Toyland

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“Mark Smith is a writer who, like Thomas Wolfe, has The Gift—the magical ability to transmute familiar and trivial elements of life into images of distinction, rarity and fascination.” —Philadelphia Bulletin

“One of the most ambitious, original and thought-provoking novelists writing today.” —Chicago Daily News


Set in a great, brooding house lashed by the wintry Lake Michigan wind, this brilliantly chilling novel explores the ultimate moral and financial decline of an eminent American family. Walter Wold—a sulking, paranoid figure who’s slipped cruelly, inhumanly out of harmony with nature—has delivered his brother’s orphaned children into the hands of two hired killers. Now in the silent cellar, foul-smelling with the decay of a disappearing time, he will confront the appalling consequences of his acts. It is Walter’s most peculiar obsession that this basement of his disintegrating home be kept absolutely, absurdly scoured clean. All superfluous possessions, the detritus of the past, must go. It is a place where he plays with his fabulously real toy trains, a figment of a bygone era. It is a place he wants no one to invade. And it is the place where he must face his own terrible emptiness and guilt, in a powerful novel of literary beauty and nightmare theme.

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