The house was heavy around him, the pressure of the past filling the rooms like odorless gas. The sea breathed in the distance. The house meant something to the aunt. Did that bind him? The coast around the house seemed beautiful to him. But the house was wrong. Had always been wrong, he thought. Dragged by human labor across miles of ice, the outcasts straining against the ropes and shouting curses at the godly mob. Winched onto the rock. Groaning. A bound prisoner straining to get free. The humming of the taut cables. That vibration passed into the house, made it seem alive. That was it, in the house he felt he was inside a tethered animal, dumb but feeling. Swallowed by the shouting past.
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
A bound prisoner straining to get free…That was it, in the house he felt he was inside a tethered animal, dumb but feeling. Swallowed by the shouting past.
Like the sea, with its heartbeat, the green house is alive; it’s a character in the book, though it’s not complicit in the horrors that happened under its roof.