No, The Dead of the House is not yet another vampire or supernatural novel. It's the story of an American family from Ohio as told through the eyes of young Vanessa Nye. Originally published in 1972, this long out of print book was rediscovered by Jeannette Watson of the now defunct Books & Co. store in New York and reprinted in 1995.
Vanessa tells her family's history in three segments. The first part, "In My Grandfather's House," takes us through the childhood, adolescence and marriage of Grandpa Nye. He's quite a character who went through life with an amazing sense of wonder and adventure. He owned his own business, wrote history and biography books and was the 'keeper of genealogical records' for the DeGloyer/Nye family.
The second part is entitled "Summer Afternoon, Summer Afternoon." This segment is all about Vanessa's vacations at the shores of Lake Michigan with her mom, dad and sister Lisa. Although they spend time with a lot of the same neighbors and friends year after year, it's never boring. Playing games, swimming in the lake, flirting wih the boys, and nights spent telling stories 'round the campfire are just a few of the good times that Vanessa mentions.
The third and last section, "And Here Tecumseh Fell," recalls Vanessa's homecoming from California for the holidays and reminiscences with other family members of time spent with Grandpa Nye. Grandpa is very ill and in the hospital, so everyone goes to spend a moment or two with him. After the return to the Nye's house, they receive the call that Grandpa Nye has passed away.
I enjoyed this book immensely and I only wish that Hannah Green had been a more prolific writer. She actually published very little in her lifetime. She wrote a number of short stories for magazines, but only published two books: The Dead of the House and one non-fiction book The Little Saint. (Many people confuse Ms. Green with another writer, Joanne Greenberg, who used the pseudonym Hannah Green when she wrote I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and several other books).
Hannah Green passed away in 1996. I'm hoping there will someday be a publication of her other stories--I know I'd certainly like to read them, too!
Submitted by Marge W. @ Central (CCDM)