Updated on August 7, 2015
28. ‘The House That Groaned’ by Karrie Fransman
The House That Groaned is set in 141 Rottin Road, a block of flats that is home to a very peculiar cast of characters. There’s the young man who is only attracted to diseased women, the old lady who literally disappears into the background, and an obese woman determinedly following an indulgent and hedonistic lifestyle. When pretty young Barbara moves into the building, she meets these strange people, and many more besides.
I picked up this graphic novel at the Hay Festival. I was mainly attracted to it for its cover, because the picture of the house has cut-out windows! I am easily pleased. The art style in the rest of the book is unlike anything I’ve seen before: Fransman uses a dark blue palette throughout and all her characters have very pronounced cheeks. She also doesn’t shy away from nudity or gore, and that is sometimes so starkly contrasted with the cuter/prettier side of things that it can be quite shocking.
All of the characters in The House That Groaned are delightfully twisted. As the story progresses we get to see into these characters’ histories, usually discovering a secret about each of them that they try to keep hidden, but which has clearly influenced who they are. We also get to see snapshots of the building they all live in, which does prove to be significant by the end of the story.
This is a relatively quick read, but it draws you in immediately and I didn’t feel that any of the characters were really neglected by Fransman. She does a great job of drawing each of them in detail in quite a short space of time, but her biggest triumph is the ending. Something happens which made me stop and stare because I couldn’t quite believe what I had just seen, and then things snowballed very quickly from there.
You can easily polish off this book in a couple of hours and be very glad that you did!
Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Want to read this? You can buy the book here.