Atmospheric, but hard to get through
Even though I had heard Arthur Machen's name quoted a lot, in connection to London and fiction, I'd never read any of his stories.
This was free on Kindle as it's gone into to the Public Domain, so why not.
'House of Souls' is a collection of 4 novellas: A Fragment of Life, The White People, The Great God Pan, and The Inmost Light. Pan was written in 1890's and the rest published in the 1920's, so the prose is a little flowery.
There's a lot of great ideas here, and he captures the feeling of a London before the suburbs exploded. You could easily find yourself walking in the hustle of a large metropolis then, all of a sudden, you're in misty fields. The creeping folk horror of the ancient countryside is always nestled amongst the modern lights of the city.
But here's thing...I found this was a real hard slog. Maybe it was the style of the day, but everytime the story started going somewhere it ended. Just straight, let's never talk about this again, type of thing. Paired with the writing style I found myself struggling to finish this.
It's undeniable that he influenced H.P.Lovecroft, and is well regarded (rightly so) amongst modern horror writers, but I think it'll be some time until I revisit his work.
If you like Poe, M.R.James, or Lovecroft I'd recommend giving this a read.