The House of Drought by Dennis Mombauer


World Fantasy Award Finalist. A beautifully creepy novella set in Sri Lanka about a house that never should have been built and the life that survives the ravages of colonization and climate change.

“Mombauer’s eerie, disorienting debut novella explores the haunting consequences of climate change and colonial greed. … At once climate fiction and gothic horror, Mombauer’s mosaic tale manages to convey a powerful message without ever feeling preachy, painting a picture of a house that is more than just haunted. Readers will be captivated.
⁠— Publishers Weekly

“Mombauer writes a speculative novella about climate change that is rooted in alterity, existing in a milieu of writers like Nina Allan (The Rift), Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Mexican Gothic), and even Amitav Ghosh (The Hungry Tide and others).”
⁠— Shinjini Dey for the Chicago Review of Books

“An eerie blend of myth and ghost story; the kind of haunting read that will linger with you long after the last page.”
— A.C. Wise, Bram Stoker Award Finalist

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About the Book

A HAUNTED HOUSE FOR THE CLIMATE CHANGE ERA. On the island of Sri Lanka, at a colonial mansion between the forest and the paddy fields, a caretaker arrives with four children in tow after pledging to keep them safe. When violent thugs storm the house demanding that Ushu repay his debt, young Jasmit and the other children hide in an upstairs bathroom where a running tap opens a gateway to escape. But the Dry House is not the only force at work in the place where the forest and the estate meet—something else stirs in the trees, something ancient, something that demands retribution.

The Sap Mother bides her time, watching and learning from the house’s inhabitants. She burrows beneath the foundations of the Dry House, hungry for atonement. Pulled between these warring powers, Jasmit must choose between saving those trapped in the mansion’s bulging stomachs and preparing the house for when the Mother emerges again.

About the Author

Dennis Mombauer lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he works as a consultant on climate change and as a writer of weird fiction and textual experiments. He is co-publisher of a German magazine for experimental fiction, “Die Novelle – Magazine for Experimentalism.” His first English novel, “The Fertile Clay,” is scheduled to be published by Nightscape Press in 2022. He has also published a collection of short stories under the title The House of the Dark Whale. Find Dennis on Twitter @DMombauerWriter.

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Additional information

Book Format


Page count

106 pp.


9781777091781 (trade), 9781777091798 (ebook)

Publication Date

July 14, 2022


horror, climate fiction, novella


climate change, Sri Lanka, haunted house

Cover Art and Design

Rachel Yu Lobbenberg

Awards and Recognition

World Fantasy Award Finalist; Utopia Award Finalist; Horror Writers Association Recommended Reading List


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