What an imagination, Mr McGahan.
Walter Richman is, well, a rich man. He employs a team, including Richard Gausse as architect, to build a house on a remote, virtually inaccessible mountain that rises from the Southern Ocean between Tasmania and Antarctica. When Richard dies, his estranged daughter Rita is invited to spend a few days there with others from the construction team, before its official opening. Disaster occurs, and Walter and his guests fight for their lives against unknown forces.
“The Mount here was hardly pristine before we came: it was covered in crap a century old, all those huts and bunkers and radar dishes. I cleaned all that up. I made it better. And Jesus, this is what mankind does, we build things where there were no things before. If we didn’t, the whole damn planet would still be a wilderness. Everyone does it everywhere.”
”Yes, thought Rita calmly. In one way he was right, fool that he was. He had only done what all humans had done throughout history, be they rich or poor. Humans explored and climbed mountains, they built homes where there had been no homes before, they spread and multiplied, and the presences of the landscape withdrew before them. It was the way of things.”
“‘The place does feel empty,’ Clara remarked, sipping the last of her tea. Empty. Empty. The word rolled about Rita’s scattered mind, but it wasn’t the right term; there was a better one; not empty; not empty … but vulnerable.”~Quotes from “The Rich Man’s House” by Andrew McGahan.
- Books And Publishing: “Andrew McGahan’s posthumously published The Rich Man’s House reads like an earlier draft of a more mature work. Though its premise of a billionaire who builds his home inside the hollow summit of a mountain brims with potential, the storytelling is undisciplined and, at over 600 pages long, the pacing presents an insurmountable problem. … Though it’s impossible not to think of the novel in terms of the author’s sad and untimely passing, his absence emphasises how far it seems from completion, and it’s difficult to imagine an audience for this book among McGahan’s existing fans. As one of these, it feels unconscionable to criticise—even at times to read—something written at a time when he was so vulnerable. Unfortunately, The Rich Man’s House is just not a good book, though it may have been under better circumstances.”
- Sydney Arts Guide: “Secluded location, ulterior motives at high altitude, THE RICH MAN’S HOUSE at times reads like Agatha Christie on crystal meth with a touch of Lovecraft. It’s not an easy journey to the summit, an avalanche of verbiage detours the ascent, and when the top is reached, you don’t really get to the bottom of the story. As in keeping with the two prologues, THE RICH MAN’S HOUSE is braced and book-ended by two epilogues, projected histories and anniversaries of the events depicted in the main body of the narrative and supply conjecture and rumour rather than conclusion. In his author’s note, McGahan insists that THE RICH MAN’S HOUSE is a finished novel but can’t deny that his abrupt decline in health hastened the rewriting and editing process extremely and that it’s not quite the book it would have been had cancer not intervened.”