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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley…

The Haunting of Hill House (original 1959; edition 2006)

by Shirley Jackson

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3,5591761,487 (4)490
Title:The Haunting of Hill House
Authors:Shirley Jackson
Info:Penguin, 2006
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:books I don't own, books I've read, horror, classic, American, Hot Review

Work details

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)

  1. 160
    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both have an unreliable narrator, which results in an ambiguous story.
  2. 90
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (alalba)
  3. 60
    White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (upstairsgirl)
    upstairsgirl: Similar in premise, less subtle but more disturbing in execution.
  4. 61
    The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill (coppers, 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. 51
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (blacksylph)
    blacksylph: The only haunted house story I've ever read that was scarier than this book.
  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. 30
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (blacksylph)
  8. 31
    The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons (sturlington)
  9. 10
    The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff (amyblue)
  10. 00
    The Supernaturals by David L. Golemon (Scottneumann)
  11. 66
    Salem's Lot by Stephen King (clif_hiker)
  12. 11
    Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar (agmlll)
  13. 56
    Carrie by Stephen King (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Clearly influenced by The Haunting of Hill House, as is much of King's work.
  14. 35
    Danse macabre by Stephen King (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Look here for Stephen King's take on The Haunting of Hill House.
1950s (66)
Ghosts (34)

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English (173)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (176)
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
partially read
  mjhanson | Jul 22, 2015 |
I picked this book up in one of my favourite haunts, a used book store (pun fully intended). I remembered reading it in high school and found it terrifying then. Now ... I think I have become jaded in my old age, because it didn't seem quite so scarey. My jaded nature aside, the book, published in 1959 is a tale of subtle, psychological terror. I understand that this book is a member of the "Stephen King Library of Horror".
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Rating this 3.5

It was a good haunted house story, easy to read, interesting, not bloodshed gore, but creepy and chilly. The plot is more of a psychological thriller than a ghost story, which is not bad. I enjoyed the introduction by LAURA MILLER that my copy of the Penguin classics had. But I read the intro after I finished the book and I agree with Miller's viewpoint on the book. The book is a lot like Henry James' [b:The Turn of the Screw|12954|The Turn of the Screw|Henry James|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386924598s/12954.jpg|21372018] where a lonely young lady faces what could be ghosts or perhaps not. But the two books are different in storyline and background.

It was interesting to learn from Miller's note that in contrast to her lonely woman characters, the author Shirley Jackson herself was a woman of prominent personality and led a busy life with her children, family and friends. I liked reading this book as it was simple, simpler words, simpler dialogues, incidents described in simple terms ... Effective, but not boring. This relatively short novel shows that a good haunted house book doesn't require a lot of mystery to be solved or a lot of ghost manifestations. ( )
  PsYcHe_Sufi | Jul 12, 2015 |
There is a real charm to this 1959 spooky psychological tale of horror. Hill House has a sad family history and it is very oddly built. A Dr. Montague wants to investigate it, since that is what he likes to do. He invites quite a few people to come stay at Hill House, which he has rented. Some respond. Even fewer show up. In fact, other than a nephew of the owner, only two young women show up. The scary stuff is fairly mild, but enough to creep you out if you are so inclined. Elements of the story will seem rather familiar to a modern audience. Since this is the early somewhat seminal stuff I don't think it can be a cliché - rather it is the prototype that inspired many imitators I would bet. The attention to small details in this is really rather superb and sets the story up nicely and continues to reward the reader. The characters are done very well, especially the two central women of the story Eleanor and Theodora. The nephew of the owner of the house, Luke, is a lesser but still important character.

Eleanor Vance is seriously in need of an adventure, an escape from the real world that she has been dealing with, and a selfish domineering older sister and brother-in-law who you want to give a good slap to, even if they are well meaning in some ways. Eleanor rebels and responding to a call that both attracts and repels, she journeys to Hill House. She wants to run away when she arrives, and yet something keeps her there. We listen in on Eleanor's internal dialogue and after a bit I began to think she was at least a little unbalanced or crazy, or at least a little warped and lacking in self esteem. She's breaking out of her old bubble coming to Hill House, and that should be a good thing. It isn't though as she seems destined to be possessed in a way by the evil presence of the house. Theodora is less well known to us. She seems a bit of a free spirit, flighty, prone to mood changes, and yet she and Eleanor bond when first meeting.

If one has an inkling for an old-fashioned but very well done haunted house story I can certainly recommend this. Not a long novel but I read it slow to take it all in. My internal "sense of justice" meter didn't like the ending, but it was effective. Who says a haunted house plays fair? I knew this was made into a movie long ago but didn't realize until I was half done that this is also the story for the 1999 film starring Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luke Wilson, which explains why I kept having this vague feeling I had read the book before. The story was familiar from watching the movie on Netflix last year. duh. ( )
  RBeffa | Jun 30, 2015 |
I feel as though I've missed something. I didn't find this book scary, just rather creepy. To me, it wasn't about the oddly-built Hill House, or the ghosts who allegedly haunt it. Rather, it was about the severe psychological issues of a woman named Eleanor, who brought her problems with her to the decrepit, isolated mansion. She probably would have suffered a nervous collapse with or without Hill House or Dr. Montigue's ghost-hunting expedition. ( )
1 vote akblanchard | Jun 27, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shirley Jacksonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dunne, BernadetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edelfeldt, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
King, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, LauraIntroductionsecondary 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 when lovers meet.
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.
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.
When they were silent for a moment the quiet weight of the house pressed down from all around them.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143039989, Paperback)

Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has unnerved readers since its original publication in 1959. A tale of subtle, psychological terror, it has earned its place as one of the significant haunted house stories of the ages.

Eleanor Vance has always been a loner--shy, vulnerable, and bitterly resentful of the 11 years she lost while nursing her dying mother. "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." Eleanor has always sensed that one day something big would happen, and one day it does. She receives an unusual invitation from Dr. John Montague, a man fascinated by "supernatural manifestations." He organizes a ghost watch, inviting people who have been touched by otherworldly events. A paranormal incident from Eleanor's childhood qualifies her to be a part of Montague's bizarre study--along with headstrong Theodora, his assistant, and Luke, a well-to-do aristocrat. They meet at Hill House--a notorious estate in New England.

Hill House is a foreboding structure of towers, buttresses, Gothic spires, gargoyles, strange angles, and rooms within rooms--a place "without kindness, never meant to be lived in...."

Although Eleanor's initial reaction is to flee, the house has a mesmerizing effect, and she begins to feel a strange kind of bliss that entices her to stay. Eleanor is a magnet for the supernatural--she hears deathly wails, feels terrible chills, and sees ghostly apparitions. Once again she feels isolated and alone--neither Theo nor Luke attract so much eerie company. But the physical horror of Hill House is always subtle; more disturbing is the emotional torment Eleanor endures. Intense, literary, and harrowing, The Haunting of Hill House belongs in the same dark league as Henry James's classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw. --Naomi Gesinger

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:04 -0400)

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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.

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