Effects of Atmosphere in Andrew McGahan’s “The Rich Man’s House”


  • Marea Mitchell Independent scholar and writer




Receiving an Aurealis Award for best horror novel in 2019, The Rich Man’s House tells the story of events that unfold within and around the mansion commissioned by Walter Richman on a mythical mountain in the Southern Ocean near Tasmania, Australia. The external atmosphere around Richman’s house consists of elemental forces or “presences” that become increasingly sinister. These external elements and the architectural atmosphere of the house create disturbing uncertainties about how to interpret the events of the novel. Collapsing traditional notions of background and foreground, McGahan’s novel is susceptible to “an atmospheric reading” (Chandler, 199) that includes but exceeds the fogs, clouds, mists and winds that are its partial constituents.

Author Biography

Marea Mitchell, Independent scholar and writer

Before taking early retirement, Marea Mitchell was a professor of English Literature at Macquarie University.