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The Haunting of Hill House (1959)

by Shirley Jackson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,2173131,111 (3.95)2 / 692
The four visitors at Hill House-- some there for knowledge, others for adventure-- are unaware that the old mansion will soon choose one of them to make its own.
  1. 210
    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both have an unreliable narrator, which results in an ambiguous story.
  2. 120
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (alalba)
  3. 70
    White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (upstairsgirl, sturlington)
    upstairsgirl: Similar in premise, less subtle but more disturbing in execution.
    sturlington: Hill House clearly inspired White Is for Witching.
  4. 81
    The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (Copperskye, Jannes)
    Jannes: Not sure if it is a coincidence, but the two perhaps best ghost stories ever written are both by women, in a genre otherwise mostly dominated by men. Both are superb explorations of death, loss, fear, and all those other elementsthat make up the good supernatural tales.… (more)
  5. 40
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (blacksylph)
  6. 41
    Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories by Roald Dahl (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Dahl's is the best collection of ghost stories available, and Jackson's is the best haunted house story of all time. I think they make a nice pair (as the bishop said to the chorus girl.)
  7. 20
    The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff (amyblue)
  8. 10
    Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (andomck)
  9. 21
    Hell House by Richard Matheson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Inspired by The Haunting of Hill House.
  10. 43
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (blacksylph)
    blacksylph: The only haunted house story I've ever read that was scarier than this book.
  11. 10
    The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons (andomck)
  12. 10
    Wild Fell (A Ghost Story) by Michael Rowe (ShelfMonkey)
  13. 10
    Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (sturlington)
    sturlington: Both are very scary ghost stories.
  14. 11
    The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (andomck)
    andomck: Both are haunted house stories at their core
  15. 22
    Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar (agmlll)
  16. 45
    Danse Macabre by Stephen King (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Look here for Stephen King's take on The Haunting of Hill House.
  17. 01
    The Supernaturals by David L. Golemon (Scottneumann)
  18. 78
    Carrie by Stephen King (artturnerjr, akblanchard)
    artturnerjr: Clearly influenced by The Haunting of Hill House, as is much of King's work.
    akblanchard: Carrie White has much in common with Jackson's shy, bullied heroine Eleanor Vance.
  19. 68
    Salem's Lot by Stephen King (clif_hiker)
1950s (64)
Kayla (3)

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English (302)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Japanese (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (311)
Showing 1-5 of 302 (next | show all)
A beautifully written, not particularly scary, haunted house story. There are some mildly creepy moments, but as long as you don't go into this novel thinking that it will be scary you won't be disappointed. ( )
  LynnK. | Aug 4, 2020 |
I think I didn't give this book a proper chance, because I was reading it in between other things and because I was thinking too much of the Netflix show while reading. I found it ok, but in reading the other reviews about it I think I may not be giving this book its due. I may read it again in the future when I can pay more attention and when I've forgotten how the tv show went! ( )
  katebrarian | Jul 28, 2020 |
This is the 2016 Penguin Books edition for the Jackson centennial, with an introduction by Laura Miller. Miller's introduction, while it gratuitously shares the ending (probably should have been included as a afterword), was originally published in 2006 and references only the 1988 Oppenheimer biography of Jackson. The very brief "further reading" list, however, includes the 2016 Franklin biography.
  philabookster | Jul 10, 2020 |
"All I want is to be cherished, she thought, and here I am talking gibberish with a selfish man."

I'm not sure it is perhaps the exemplar of the horror genre that everyone makes it out to be (I thought the house bits were just not that scary, honestly!) but as an account of a woman's slow descent into madness it is, without doubt, a sublime masterpiece. ( )
  chloec | Jul 7, 2020 |
I recall being in college and seeing "The Haunting (1999)" which was a movie based on this book. A bunch of friends and I watched this movie in one of the dorm rooms and I swear at one point I was firmly wedged beneath my poor friend trying my best to use her as a shield (yes she totally forgave me for yanking and hiding underneath her).

I honestly at the time had no clue that movie was based upon that book. I do remember being scared during and after the movie (slept with my light on that night) and wondered why movies and books based on haunted houses always scared me the most. It could be because your home is supposed to be your safe place and you feel loved and protected there. When writers start to pick away at that sense of safety and security you start to feel more vulnerable. It could also be why people never seem to think that they can be mugged or assaulted in the daylight. In our minds only horrible things happen at night, good things happen in the day.

I have never read Shirley Jackson before and I have to say that I am just really impressed. She manages to imbue such life into all of the characters in this book, especially Eleanor.

There are four main characters that we follow in this story. First, Dr. John Montague who investigates the paranormal. Second, Eleanor Vance, who we find out was forced to take care of her sick mother until she finally passed away. Third, Theodora, who the story leads us to believe may possibly be gay. Fourth, Luke Sanderson, who is the heir to Hill House.

Told in the third person I found that Eleanor more than any other character is meant to be the stand in for the reader. When she was scared, I was scared, when she started to feel panicky I did as well. I think towards the end I must have said "Girl, you need to run" at least ten times. I was sitting and reading this book on my book patio on a bright and sunny day and I felt cold and scared thinking of what the end of this book would bring.I wanted everyone to be safe and to live Hill House together. Instead I started to feel that no matter how much I wished for a happy ending, Shirley Jackson was not going to be providing one.

This book in a word was perfect. Everything worked and Shirley Jackson keeps up your unending sense of dread while you are reading this book. When the band of four start investigating the house and you read how it was built you start to imagine a slightly off house in your head as they go exploring. I seriously wish someone had made a map of the house since it was so confusing trying to understand where rooms were located. Having the little foursome start to turn on each other and then become afraid together and alone was actually more frightening than whatever was going on in Hill House.

One of my favorite passages was this said by Eleanor to the group:

"I am always afraid of being alone," Eleanor said, and wondered, Am I talking like this? Am I saying something that I will regret bitterly tomorrow? Am I making more guilt for myself?

"Those letters spelled out my name, and none of you know what that feels like--it's so familiar."

And she gestured to them, almost in appeal. "Try to see," she said. It's my own dear name, and it belongs to me, and something is using it and writing it and calling me with it and my own name..."

She stopped and said, looking from one of them to another, even down onto Theodora's face looking up at her, "Look. There's only one of me, and it's all I've got. I hate seeing myself dissolve and slip and separate so that I'm living in one half, my mind, and I see the other half of me helpless and frantic and driven and I can't stop it, but I know I'm not really going to be hurt and yet time is so long and even a second goes on and on and I could stand any of it if I could only surrender--"

I would definitely recommend to those looking for a scary book to read in October. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 302 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jackson, Shirleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckley, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dowers, ShonnaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunne, BernadetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edelfeldt, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
King, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, LauraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmer, ÓscarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
PhotonicaCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.
Journeys end in lovers meeting.
She could not remember ever being truly happy in her adult life; her years with her mother had been built up devotedly around small guilts and small reproaches, constant weariness, and unending despair. Without ever wanting to become reserved and shy, she had spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words. (chapter 1)
The house was vile. She shivered and thought, the words coming freely into her mind, Hill House is vile, it is diseased; get away from here at once. (chapter 1)
When they were silent for a moment the quiet weight of the house pressed down from all around them.
We have grown to trust blindly in our senses of balance and reason and I can see where the mind might fight wildly to preserve its own familiar stable patterns against all evidence that it was leaning sideways. (Dr. Montague, chapter 4)
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Book description
Hill House is an eighty year-old mansion built by a man named Hugh Crain. The story concerns four main characters: Dr. John Montague, an investigator of the supernatural; two young women, Eleanor and Theodora; and a young man, Luke, the heir to Hill House, who is host to the others. Doctor Montague hopes to find scientific evidence of the existence of the supernatural. He rents Hill House for a summer and invites several people to stay there as his guests. Of these invitees, whom he has chosen because at one time or another they have all experienced paranormal events, only Eleanor and Theodora accept.

AR 6.3, 11 pts
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