It’s a bit of a random top 5 on today’s blog! For absolutely no reason, I’m going to share with you my top 5 fictional houses. The subject sprang into my mind completely unbidden, but once I started to explore it further I realised it was quite an interesting idea. To me, all houses in real life have their own unique atmosphere, vibe or character, call in what you will – and the sensation you get from being inside them can be strangely powerful. The fictional houses we remember are the ones whose atmosphere plays a crucial role in the story, the ones whose intangible influence is so strong that they almost become characters in their own right. In fact, I would say that a few of the houses in my top 5 are just as iconic as the human characters that inhabit them. So here are…
…My top 5 fictional houses
- Manderley from “Rebecca” – with what is perhaps one of the most famous opening lines in literature, the novel’s narrator introduces us to Manderley, the forbidding house of Max de Winter. Memories of his first wife Rebecca, who died in mysterious circumstances, lurk in every corner; to the unfortunate second Mrs. de Winter, and to the reader, Manderley is almost alive, pulsing with secrets and the horror of what has taken place there.
- Pemberley from “Pride and Prejudice” – I chose this because for me Pemberley was always akin to the prince’s palace in a fairy tale. It’s a world of luxury but also of potential bliss that at first seems impenetrable to our heroine, but is eventually revealed as being her romantic destiny. And of course it’s home to Mr. Darcy – what more could a girl want?!
- Vishram Tower A from “Last Man in Tower” – the dilapidated but homely Tower A is under threat of demolition by real estate entrepreneurs in this initially humorous but ultimately disturbing tale of human greed. Tower A, a 1970s tower block in suburban Mumbai, is a haven of fellowship and the epitome of community spirit – until the residents start to realise just how much money they could make from its demise.
- Brideshead from “Brideshead Revisited” – I first read the book after seeing the famous television adaptation so for me Brideshead will always conjure up images of the stunning Castle Howard where much of it was filmed. In a similar way to Pemberley, entering Brideshead for the first time hand in hand with Charles Ryder feels like walking in to a world that would normally be denied to us – only of course this story has a much darker centre.
- Victory Mansions from “1984” – the idea of home as a place of safety is turned on its head in this dystopian classic. The ironically named Victory Mansions represent a final defeat for the inhabitants, who can no longer even think of their home as a refuge from the all-seeing glare of Big Brother. This ultimate invasion of privacy is as exhausting for the reader as it is for the beleaguered population of Airstrip One; home in Orwell’s nightmare vision is no place you want to be.