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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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4,2562211,165 (3.97)1 / 585
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)

Recently added bygrimsilence, Agamotto, private library, Adilinaria, nams55, Aneris, andyriley12, brideofsevenless
  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, sturlington)
    upstairsgirl: Similar in premise, less subtle but more disturbing in execution.
    sturlington: Hill House clearly inspired White Is for Witching.
  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. 40
    The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan (blacksylph)
  6. 41
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (blacksylph)
    blacksylph: The only haunted house story I've ever read that was scarier than this book.
  7. 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.)
  8. 20
    The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff (amyblue)
  9. 00
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  10. 00
    The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (andomck)
    andomck: Both are haunted house stories at their core
  11. 77
    Salem's Lot by Stephen King (clif_hiker)
  12. 77
    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.
  13. 11
    Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar (agmlll)
  14. 45
    Danse Macabre by Stephen King (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Look here for Stephen King's take on The Haunting of Hill House.
  15. 02
    Hell House by Richard Matheson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Inspired by The Haunting of Hill House.
1950s (118)

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English (215)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (218)
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)

"It is a rude shock to turn that corner and get a clear look at Hill House." I managed to spoil myself after two thirds of the book. I could have been quite content not remembering this film. However, something triggered the damn memory and the last third I spent waiting for familiar things to happen.

If I were to rate this book regarding the characters and how I liked them, the second part would get one fat zero. I spent a lot of time wishing I could slap one of them. I have to not loathe the characters I am reading about in order to enjoy the book. I can take it when there is one or two bad ones, or even just one or two good ones, but when all of them manage to be as despicable as they could, then I have a problem. I understand why this isn't a reason people dislike books. I accept it is just me. I hated every single one of them for various reasons later in the story. They were not like that when they arrived at Hill House. Their first conversations are pretty funny.

All that doesn't change the fact that it is well written story. I mean, the language is truly beautiful. So, I won't allow my hatred towards the characters ruin it.
The frightening thing is not openly shown. There are quite a few subtle moments that will make your hair at the back of your neck rise and you might feel the chill they felt at one moment or another. The first part of the book is simply a build-up for the things to come. You keep waiting for something to happen. That anticipation is almost as real as the characters.

I was so pleased to see that even though I've watched the film, the story managed to surprise me in the end. I prefer this ending. It is more sinister.

Compared to [b:Manchester House|7304371|Manchester House|Donald Allen Kirch|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1260496406s/7304371.jpg|8717624] and [b:Hell House|33547|Hell House|Richard Matheson|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1384259876s/33547.jpg|804298], this one wins. These two are stories with monsters you can see and try to fight.
The most terrifying thing of Hill House is not so easily depicted. ( )
  Aneris | Apr 22, 2017 |
WARNING: The 'introduction' to the Stephen King Horror Library edition of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House is Mr. King's discussion of that book from his 1981 non-fiction work, Danse Macabre. It contains major spoilers, so if you have not read this book before, read Mr. King as an afterword. By the way, the Cryptkeeper mentioned is the one from EC comics, which Mr. King also discussed in his book.

(That the discussion was written in 1981 explains why only the excellent 1963 movie version, 'The Haunting,' is mentioned. I wish Mr. King had added some words about the not-even-remotely scary 1999 remake. I'm sure that would have been fun. In the meantime, if you've seen both versions, you might enjoy the Nostalgia Critic's comparison here -- if you don't mind salty language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tadIzG7jxp8 )

I never saw the 1963 movie in a theater, but I have seen it many times on TV, first when I was a child. My younger siblings and I LOVED the movie. We even played Hill House.

Of course I was glad to own a paperback copy of this book when I got older. It's rather fragile now, which is why I was happy to get the chance to own it in hardcover.


Chapter 1:

The lines about 'journeys end in lovers meeting', 'in delay there lies no plenty', and 'present mirth hath present laughter' come from 'Sweet and Twenty' by William Shakespeare. http://www.bartleby.com/101/133.html

Chapters 2 & 3. Count Dracula is mentioned.

Chapter 3:

a. We are told that the last time a person tried to leave Hill House after dark was 18 years ago.

b. Leviticus and Homer are mentioned.

c. Mrs. Dudley gave Eleanor the blue room and Theodora the green room, colors traditionally considered masculine; while she gave Dr. Montague the yellow room and Luke the pink room, colors traditionally considered feminine. Was this deliberate?

Chapter 4: Dr. Montague uses [Samuel] Richardson's Pamela as a sleep aid. He also mentions [Henry] Fielding, Laurence Sterne, and [Tobias] Smollett. ( )
1 vote JalenV | Feb 28, 2017 |
Well, this is certainly a book I wouldn't recommend reading in the middle of the night when you're all alone, that's for sure. It's pretty rare that a book can creep me out so well to make the hairs at the back of my neck stand on end and give me goosebumps, but this one managed it quite handily.

The book is interesting from start to finish, although I'll mention that Eleanor's drive to Hill House is actually the most boring portion of the book. It's rather short, though, so there's no trouble getting through that part.

One thing I noticed right away is that both Eleanor and Theodora are rather childlike from the start, while Luke and Dr. Montague mostly seem to humor them. More than once Luke literally speaks to Eleanor as though she literally is a child, telling her to behave herself. Still, the fanciful nonsense and daydreams from Theodora and Eleanor do help to lighten the mood of the book so it isn't dreary all the time and works quite well.

You can definitely tell by the style of writing that it's an older book, but at the same time it isn't difficult to read and the flow is almost lyrical or poetic without actually being so.

I found Theodora and Eleanor's relationship to be the most interesting, although all of the characters are interesting in their own way and one thing I liked very much about the book was that each individual character, no matter how large or small their part, really was an individual. They each had their own specific voice that was easy to discern, so much so that even if you weren't told who was speaking you had no trouble knowing right away.

Great book for a weekend read, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes ghost or haunted house stories. You won't regret it. ( )
  madam_razz | Jan 19, 2017 |
Jackson is a master of creating female characters who are both pitiful and terrifyingly warped. Here, our protagonist's increasingly skewed outlook, her bottomless neediness, her hate and barely contained fury arising from long simmering jealousies and resentments offer readers a madly confused perspective. Where the weirdnesses of Hill House end and those of Eleanor begin is never clear, but sympathy turns to skepticism and then revulsion and horror. The near constant references to various dramas, to Shakespeare's “Twelfth Night,” to Samuel Richardson's tales of innocent damsels in peril, to the Babes in the Wood, while clearly supporting Eleanor's identity as an actress filling her role, also serve to remind us of the potential for unpleasant surprises in a play of hidden identities. Mrs. Montague and Arthur seemed a little “over the top” to me – more jarringly silly than was necessary – but they certainly shifted the story into its final phase. A disconcertingly creepy story. ( )
  meandmybooks | Dec 28, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shirley Jacksonprimary authorall editionscalculated
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
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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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)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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