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Publisher's Summary

In the aftermath of the mysterious death of their lead singer, the young members of a now-legendary British acid folk band hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient English country house with its own dark secrets. There they record Wylding Hall, the album that makes their reputation - but at a terrifying cost when Julian Blake, their new lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen again.

Now, years later, the surviving musicians and 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 during that summer. But whose story is the true one? And what really happened to Julian Blake?

©2015 Elizabeth Hand (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Wylding Hall

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Profile Image for Sarah B
  • Sarah B
  • 03-09-2018

Surprisingly Delightful

I'm usually not a fan of shorter stories but I'm glad I took a chance on this one. The documentary style really drew me in and I eagerly listed to different sides of the story. I often listen to stories before bed and this one gave me nightmares - I loved it! A little mystery and atmosphere goes a long way and this writer is superb. Definitely teading/listening more from this author.

7 people found this helpful

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  • wisconsinclark
  • 23-07-2020

Big buildup, disappointing ending

Cast was well done, pulls you in, then nothing. This story was a tease, flirts with you with tantalizing details about a missing lead singer and his ghost girl. Then it ends with no explanation, just a tiny hint.

5 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Lou Lombardi
  • Lou Lombardi
  • 15-10-2019

meh...

no story... mildly interesting characters

i bought this because I thought that it was a horror novel.... it's not

best part? it's short !

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Karissa Eckert
  • 23-12-2020

Okay but the story is kind of thin.

Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone audiobook that I borrowed through Audible Plus.

Audiobook Quality (4/5): The audiobook was well done and the two narrators do an excellent job with all of the different character voices. This is one I would definitely recommend listening to on audiobook.

Story (3/5): I have read, and really enjoyed, a lot of Hand’s books, unfortunately I thought this one was a bit weak. The story is pretty thin here, basically a band rents out a mysterious estate, Wylding Hall, to record their new record at. After the suicide of one of their members, the lead singer Julian Blake disappears in the house somehow under mysterious circumstances.

The events are revealed through a series of interviews with the band members, their significant others, and the band manager. There is a lot of sex, drugs, and drinking throughout. It’s just a little blip of a story that felt kind of thin and predictable to me. I think it’s supposed to be mysterious and creepy but the fact that you can tell that Julian disappeared right from the beginning of the story makes the whole thing anti-climatic.

Characters (3/5): You hear interviews with a lot of characters so it’s hard to keep them straight and engage with them. Julian is given this kind of bigger than life persona which I felt like he never deserved. I don’t know, the whole cast of characters was kind of “blah” to me.

Setting (3/5): Wylding Hall should have been an amazing setting but it wasn’t really described well enough for me to picture it fully. It doesn’t ever really seem all that creepy or scary to me. Just kind of your typical old house setting.

Writing Style (3/5): I liked the interview style this was written in and how it slowly reveals the story. However, I just felt like the whole story was so thin and the characters were so underdeveloped that I kind of didn’t care about any of it.

My Summary (3/5): Overall I would have been just fine never listening to this, this is definitely not one of Hand’s finer stories. I would recommend skipping this. The whole premise is pretty thin and not well thought out and all the jumping between characters makes the story feel really fractured.

1 person found this helpful

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  • S. Weiner
  • 09-12-2020

The very definition of "middling"

In the end, the problem is really that... not much happens. So there's a disappearance, years before the book takes place, but you're not really given any reason to care. This is a full-cast recording and, as is often the case, performance quality varies. At its best, this book has a kind of misty, nostalgic folk-horror quality, like a memory of watching The Wicker Man on a crisp autumn night years ago. But it doesn't hit those notes for long, alas. It does rather leave one wanting to listen to a lot of Fairport Convention, though.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Wesley J. Critchfield
  • 01-01-2020

Nothing really happens

It's alright, nothing great though. it's mostly Atmosphere with a disappearance we are told happened at the very beginning. there are some creepy moments toward the end of the book but not really worth the journey. still it is short and good to listen to so if you're looking for something that's mostly mood I would recommend this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Whit
  • 22-04-2017

Excellent Traditional Spooky Old House Yarn

I listened to music from this era often and happily, and the capture of the moment stitched in with a deft spooky tale (told nonsequentially and expertly) kept my attention with rare spirit. What a fine piece of work! Like an old Rolling Stone oral history combined with a Diana Rigg ghost story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eliot Hutchins
  • 04-10-2021

interesting and subtle

the author has a beautiful and haunting command of the language. I liked it alot.

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  • Heather
  • 28-09-2021

Subtle Haunt That's a Little Too Intangible

I want to say from the start that I really did enjoy this audio. The story is intriguing, the performances great, the setting and descriptions vivid enough that I could easily picture characters and places, and the - haunt? folktale? - at the heart of it subtle enough to be a haunting thread throughout. Unfortunately for me, it's just a little too subtle.

Told in a interview/documentary style, the haunt (if you can call it that) is only very vaguely hinted at through 85% of the story. As a listener, we know something happened at Wylding Hall and are very slowly introduced to it with building block oddities that happen there, but the overall slowness and vagueness just never quite build to a solid crescendo that satisfies. We're left with only the intangible: something happened but nobody really knows what and that's that. Not a bad thing, necessarily, since it lends itself to the eerienes, but I can see how some listeners would find themselves annoyed.

While I didn't, I did feel like the creator never gave us enough to fully grasp onto in the end. Still worth a listen in my book but won't work for everyone.

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  • Yvonne K
  • 19-09-2021

A waste of time

I can't believe I wasted 4.5 hours of my time on this nonsense. I did enjoy the narration, but other than that it was awful. I'm completely baffled by all the "positive" reviews. The story drags on and never delivers anything interesting.

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  • Beccameriel
  • 30-06-2015

Atmospheric English Folk Horror

Really my only complaint about this book is that it's too short. Its themes are very reminiscent of the English Folk Horror films of the 1970s like Blood on Satan's Claw and the Wicker Man. The story is set over one hot summer in the early 70s. An almost famous folk band are sent to stay in an ancient manor house deep in the countryside to write their second album. The sense of time and place is very believable as is the dynamic between the band members - at least to a non-musician like me. It really made me want to listen to the legendary album they create! The story is told in the present day so all the narrators are potentially unreliable given the distance of time and the alcohol and drugs they were consuming at Wylding Hall. No one has the full story and we can only piece together what happened from the subjective views of each character. There aren't really any shocks or big scares but instead a pervasive atmosphere of something not being quite right. Odd things happen and are never really explained so if you get frustrated by stories that lack a big denouement and exposition you might not like this very much.

As you can see it's quite short; more of a novella and probably one to get if you have a few spare credits. I would listen to it on a hot summer day - ideally sitting outside under a tree. Just watch out for the wrens.

The narrators are uniformly excellent. Having a different actor for each part really adds to the experience of listening to the book.

I've only read one other book by Elizabeth Hand and going by this I wish there was more of her work available on audio.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Luke Barclay
  • 17-09-2021

loved it!

I honestly couldn't put this down. I'm certainly recommending it to friends and ive already pestered my partner to read it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J. Pullman
  • 16-09-2021

Really enjoyable

This is a proper old-school ghost story. No guts or gore, just something genuinely creepy and disturbing. Perfect for what it is.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-09-2021

Great!

Great book, really enjoyed all the different narrators and the story which kept me enthralled until the end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • eamonn keating
  • 13-08-2021

really enjoyed that

that was very good. Well done and actually quite scary when it came to it. Good job

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marion G.
  • 06-08-2021

Well worth a listen

I love full cast dramas and this one is pretty good - and even better as it is free with my membership. Well narrated, quite spooky without being scary and short enough to keep you happy for the duration.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sassa K-B
  • 14-10-2021

Pretty cool

I liked the style of this book as first hand accounts. Very spooky ending! Not bad

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Fredrik
  • Fredrik
  • 13-10-2021

Interesting Framing Device

The framing device of this story was quite refreshing, but the story drags on here and there and could have been cut down a bit. Overall, it is effective in places and the structure helps it stand out among other mysteries.

The performances were great and added a lot to the experience.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mm78
  • 28-09-2021

Promising but lacked substance

I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this book was disappointed it led nowhere. Many good books finish with an open end but it felt like there should have been another, meatier 3rd at the end of the book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alison
  • Alison
  • 24-09-2021

Wylding Hall

For a short listen this dragged very badly in places. An interesting angle to take on the tale although l was thrown out by some casual Americanisms that were there. "Should l bring this to the police?" instead of "take". Small, but irritating. It was only a matter of time before someone felt the urge to "reach out". So to summarise, not the worst, not the best, but certainly something a little different.

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