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Extended Audio Sample The Willows Audiobook, by Algernon Blackwood Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (86 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Algernon Blackwood Narrator: Nick Sampson Publisher: Listen & Live Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781593161194
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Perhaps Blackwood’s most celebrated story, The Willows was influenced heavily by his own trips down the Danube River. It tells the story of two campers who are on a canoe trip down the Danube, the sense of a looming threat following them. When darkness falls, they pick the wrong place to sleep for the night—a place where another dimension impinges on our own.


American horror author H. P. Lovecraft considered this story to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature.
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Quotes & Awards

  • “Here art and restraint in narrative reach their very highest development, and an impression of lasting poignancy is produced without a single strained passage or a single false note.”

    H. P. Lovecraft

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patra | 2/20/2014

    " This author writes beautifully. It's one of those books that's like eating dessert. The only downer is some of the details confused me - like what type of world do these animals live in? Toad, at one point, was as large as a human, which doesn't feel very consistent with the rest of the story. Since it's a children's book these details would probably not matter to a child. It's definitely one I will read with my little boy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 2/17/2014

    " Very quaint and enjoyable, full of quintessential British countryside sentimentalism. I do love animal books, especially illustrated ones. Strangely enough, I've never seen the animation, but I'm glad to have read the original stories, which were surprisingly thoughtful despite its intended audience for children. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pauline Toohey | 2/16/2014

    " Wow. Such beautiful phrasing. Wow. Nothing more to say! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug Williams | 2/12/2014

    " Terrifying in the same manner as Lovecraft. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monty | 2/10/2014

    " A good horror read. I never heard of this author before. Somebody told me to read his works, and this wasn't a bad read at all. I m looking for more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Killthepopular | 2/6/2014

    " I was hugely impressed with this. Really lovely characters and a profound, spiritual notion of nature (both human nature and nature in general) make this a powerful, yet luxuriant read. I think this one will stay with me... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wifey | 2/6/2014

    " Written in 1907 and still terrifying and relevant, short read, and demanding of the reader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaethe | 2/2/2014

    " That's one hell of a creepy story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikki | 1/30/2014

    " Spectacular use of environment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jimmmyman10 | 1/25/2014

    " Read with my father... I remember this book... It brings back memories... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/23/2014

    " Happy memories from my childhood. Cute stories about Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jodi | 1/19/2014

    " I want to love this book. So badly. I feel like it's a book one SHOULD love but....it's just so boring! Nothing happens! The only spectacular thing is that animals talk, and I'm not sure I would have been captivated by the story even when I was a kid. However, I do love the writing. The writing is beautifully descriptive and just...I would like to write like that. It's the story I have a problem with, not the writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 1/18/2014

    " Simply put, the most amazing thing I've read in a very long time. The slow build-up of tension to a fever pitch, the harrowing hints at enormous, incomprehensible forces, the use of geography and vegetation as tools for suggesting psychological states...wow. Just read it. You'll see. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Traci Stevens | 1/14/2014

    " I love a good scare. This was pleasantly disturbing! Definitely creepy... His personification of the environment in general is classic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mara | 1/11/2014

    " Are the people animal-sized or the animals people-sized? And why no female animals? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ljugant | 1/1/2014

    " Fun little story. Would be great to read with kids! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Greg | 12/31/2013

    " Charming throughout. Enchanting even, at times. Sadly, the anthropomorphism is clumsy and out of place. Simply covering something with fur does not make it for children. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 M.L. Falconer | 12/28/2013

    " Amazing read! His characterization of non-animated things floored me. Beautiful prose and creepy storyline. I loved this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chance Maree | 12/27/2013

    " At this point in my reading career, I don't believe I've read better building and rendering of fear than The Willows by Blackwood. The writing--word choice, dialogue--everything around those moments of terror were so evocative, I felt them, all while lying safely beneath a roof, on the sofa. The plot is simple--two men rowing a boat along the Danube River. They camp in an area overgrown with Willows. From that point, the mix of terror in the imagination, and subtle hints in the environment, is simply, excellent. The dialogue too, takes a sinister turn, along with the rushing of wind and gurgle of water. Amazingly well done, this fear, without gore or slashers or zombies. The Willows was a personal favorite of Lovecraft, so I was curious, and now I understand why. I intend to revisit the story and dissect how he did it, but for this first read, I was enthralled. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susanne | 12/27/2013

    " Lovecraft thought this was one of the best works of supernatural horror ever written. 'Nuff said. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dierdra Byrd | 12/25/2013

    " I loved this book as a child! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sara Cole | 12/25/2013

    " I am attempting to read this to my kids ... I am loving it but I think my kids need to a be a bit older to enjoy it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betty | 12/24/2013

    " This BBC radio broadcast of Wind in the Willows, adapted for production by playwright Alan Bennett, is perfectly delightful. One wishes one could have seen the stage production. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa | 12/17/2013

    " I guess I was hoping for more creepiness. It was okay. But, I don't understand why it's on so many lists of the best horror stories. I loved his style of writing. It's very descriptive, classic in a way. And, I must admit now when I'm outside letting the dog out at night and hear the trees blowing in the wind, I think of the book. So, I suppose in a way, the book haunts me. Only not in a super creepy way, which again, I suppose is good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebekah Bruce | 12/9/2013

    " Not really a favorite of mine. It seemed a bit dry. I got the feeling that Grahame was making a point with his writing and forgot to make it interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenn | 12/8/2013

    " The possibilities that frighten the narrator and his companion just don't frighten me at all, but I do love the way that this is written. It's very "Twilight Zone" or "X-Files," but of course, long before those existed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacy | 12/7/2013

    " This was a fun book to read to my 7 year old. We both looked forward to seeing what adventures the animals were going to do next, "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kimberley | 12/4/2013

    " EVERYONE MUST OWN THIS BOOK. The Wind in the Willows is one of the classic stories that everybody owns and has read numerous times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeff Miller | 11/27/2013

    " Nice and creepy classic Halloween reading. Plus a Willow Tree does look like it dresses up for Halloween. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Asha Seth | 10/21/2013

    " Quite simply, one of the best horror stories I've read after Edgar Allen Poe and some others from the same era. Weird yet best! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joshua | 10/19/2013

    " Creepy... Anyone have an ideas on what the others could be? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marvin | 10/12/2013

    " An excellent example on how a writer can use atmosphere as a way to scare the hell out of you. A classic tale of horror. Many people say H. P. Lovecraft is the master of that sort of thing but I think Blackwood kicks Lovecraft's atmospheric butt. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Daniel | 10/4/2013

    " Not allot to comment on this - would be fun if it was assigned in a class or something "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 9/17/2013

    " This book was not as scary as I had thought it would be, except on a couple points towards the end. would read it again though, since I think you could pick up more as you read over it. The ending was one of or maybe the best ending ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy El | 8/31/2013

    " a real classic, the ultimate in creepy settings. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chi-Chi A | 8/5/2013

    " great short story! Really liked it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holland | 7/26/2013

    " Read this when you are camping.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 7/20/2013

    " Incredibly eerie. I can see why Lovecraft thought so well of this story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn | 6/23/2013

    " I just thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this book. I think the last time was when my mom read it to me:). It was so idyllic and adventuresome and comfortable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karin | 6/14/2013

    " This was a test read to see if it would be suitable for my granddaughters age 7,the story is really nice ,there are some dark spots which will be a little difficult to explain,so we'll wait awhile before we tackle this one "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer Lincoln | 5/26/2013

    " This is one of my all time favorite books, have read over and over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 M0rningstar | 5/6/2013

    " Evocative, if meandering, writing builds momentum slowly but lethally in this story. The exotic, almost bizarre, setting adds great atmosphere and echoes major themes. A nice, creepy read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary Goosman | 4/30/2013

    " This was my favorite book as a child and one that I read to my son several times. The animals seemed familiar and the river soothing. I felt certain this is how the English countryside would appear and in many respects it coincides with my experiences in Somerset. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tobilovescows | 3/4/2013

    " I sure had to dig out my dictionary for the vocabulary words. I loved this book as a child and it was fun to read it as a "grown up". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Antti Karanta | 1/29/2013

    " A real nice eerie out of this world feel in this book. No wonder H. P. Lovecraft liked it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 1/25/2013

    " Another that I should tag "why hadn't I read this before?", because really, I should have, given my love for classic ghost stories. The descriptions of the landscape are so wonderfully rich that I may not have just a new favorite author here, but a new favorite writer, too. I plan to study this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caitlin | 1/15/2013

    " Another childhood classic that my mother read to me. One of the best stories to be read at bedtime. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miriam | 1/12/2013

    " I like it a lot. It reflects, with a child story, the victorian culture "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 11/5/2012

    " The finest horror short story/novella ever written. Nothing is ever truly seen, nothing can ever be proven, but the power of the atmosphere makes it so none of that is needed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 9/27/2012

    " Read this after doing a bit of research on psychogeography. Read it closely for atmosphere. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Allison Porter | 9/21/2012

    " This book said some bad words in it so I stopped at page 100. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald Schoedel | 6/9/2012

    " The bushes right outside my bedroom window took on an eerie new aura as I read this book at night, in bed. Creepy. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sofia | 5/13/2012

    " Found it too revealing and therefore less creepy than I was expecting. It's probably more effective if read on a stormy night, or listened to as audiobook. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 4/2/2012

    " A haunting, claustrophobic tale where two men, known only as the narrator and the Swede, journey down river against the unnatural humanity of nature itself. Where brooding paranoia and unearthly suggestions wind their way through the story to their end. A good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monty | 3/6/2012

    " A good horror read. I never heard of this author before. Somebody told me to read his works, and this wasn't a bad read at all. I m looking for more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Karr | 1/12/2012

    " Very solid strange fiction tale. Would love to see it adapted for the large screen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebekah | 12/1/2011

    " Starting listening to story from booksshouldbefree.com "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fred | 11/18/2011

    " the scariest story ever written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 9/7/2011

    " Read this after doing a bit of research on psychogeography. Read it closely for atmosphere. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin Horton | 8/5/2011

    " I started reading this to my son, but he wasn't interested yet. I became attached to dear Mole and Ratty, so I continued on my own. I haven't read it since grade school. I enjoyed it all over again! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alieda | 7/9/2011

    " One of my favourite books of all time, and my grandfather's favourite. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Princesschaos Brutile | 6/16/2011

    " this is a great story i can really visualize what is going to happen in my head "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 M0rningstar | 6/4/2011

    " Evocative, if meandering, writing builds momentum slowly but lethally in this story. The exotic, almost bizarre, setting adds great atmosphere and echoes major themes. A nice, creepy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vincent | 5/26/2011

    " This was a surprisingly effective short horror story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monty | 5/16/2011

    " A good horror read. I never heard of this author before. Somebody told me to read his works, and this wasn't a bad read at all. I m looking for more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeremy | 2/26/2011

    " Absolutely brilliant. Definitely one of the best horror stories I've ever read and I've read quite a few. I'll for sure be reading more from Algernon Blackwood after this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jesse | 1/18/2011

    " Not nearly as scary as people build it up to be. In fact, not really scary at all. While I appreciate the story and the effort, it was lacking, and I was continuously waiting for it to "get good." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaethe | 6/14/2010

    " That's one hell of a creepy story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susanne | 8/25/2009

    " Lovecraft thought this was one of the best works of supernatural horror ever written. 'Nuff said. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marvin | 8/5/2009

    " An excellent example on how a writer can use atmosphere as a way to scare the hell out of you. A classic tale of horror. Many people say H. P. Lovecraft is the master of that sort of thing but I think Blackwood kicks Lovecraft's atmospheric butt. "

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About the Author
Author Algernon Blackwood

Algernon Blackwood (1869–1951) led a rich and varied life. Storyteller, mystic, adventurer, and radio and television personality, he is best remembered for his two superlative horror stories, “The Willows” and “The Wendigo.” But in his lifetime he wrote over 150 stories, at least a dozen novels, two plays, and quite a few children’s books as well. By the time of his death, he had become one of the greatest writers of supernatural fiction in the twentieth century.