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The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin…

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

by Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,6521831,445 (4)1 / 516
Title:The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Shirley Jackson
Other authors:Laura Miller (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:read 2012, read via public library
Tags:Fiction, horror

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. 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)
  4. 50
    White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (upstairsgirl)
    upstairsgirl: Similar in premise, less subtle but more disturbing in execution.
  5. 40
    The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan (blacksylph)
  6. 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.
  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. 10
    The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff (amyblue)
  9. 00
    Rooms by Lauren Oliver (sturlington)
  10. 00
    The Supernaturals by David L. Golemon (Scottneumann)
  11. 00
    Hell House by Richard Matheson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Inspired by The Haunting of Hill House.
  12. 66
    Salem's Lot by Stephen King (clif_hiker)
  13. 11
    Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar (agmlll)
  14. 35
    Danse macabre by Stephen King (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Look here for Stephen King's take on The Haunting of Hill House.
  15. 57
    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.
1950s (109)

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English (179)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (182)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (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. ( )
  Irena. | Nov 3, 2015 |
Gostei muito de ter lido. Fiquei mais contente com o filme de 99(Que eu gostei mesmo, não me julguem) e quis ver o de 63 que foi super aclamado. Não consegui deixar de ver a Lili Taylor como Eleanor e o Liam Neeson de "cientista". ( )
  MarthaNunes | Nov 2, 2015 |
My Kindle edition didn't actually begin the story until the 16% mark. There is first a long intro about gothic horror, and immediately follows a review of the novel. I came back to that after I finished reading the book.

Jackson creates just the right amount of tension and dread to make this a creepy-good psychological thriller. Between Eleanor's unbalanced psyche and the house's history and slightly off angles, the reader moves forward with trepidation. The paranormal events are hair raising and so well described. The characters are well defined, including the housekeeper and her husband. It's a short book, but really keeps you on the edge of your seat. You want to run for your life, right out of Hill House. Well recommended. ( )
  Zumbanista | Nov 1, 2015 |
Terror at its finest. ( )
  trile1000 | Oct 23, 2015 |
Whatever walks in Hill House walks alone, we are told, right at the start. Eleanor comes alone to Hill House, a repressed woman-child having spent her years caring for her now-dead mother, having to steal the car she half-owns from her sister to answer the invitation of Dr Montague to join him in a scientific investigation of the paranormal, because when she was a child her home was inexplicably bombarded by stones for three days. Also coming are Theodora, unusually sensitive, and Luke, heir to Hill House. Eleanor enters into a sudden little community and becomes part, in her mind, of a new family. She also enters Hill House, an undeniably terrible place with an unpleasant history. Eleanor is very much ambivalent about this, greedily battening on the adventure and the companionship, responding strongly to the inherent terror of Hill House, creating a kind of sympathetic resonance as her repression gives way to a heedless hunger that threatens to unhinge her completely.

I wasn't quite prepared for how funny this was. Jackson uses humour deftly. The characters' dialogue is witty and even extravagant as they cope with the anxieties of their unpleasant and unnerving surroundings with slightly hysterical and over-done jokiness, because these are intelligent modern people deliberately visiting a haunted house to see some ghosts, and this is how they handle the contradictions. Then Mrs Montague arrives, a devoted spiritualist and magnificent comic creation, just as the phenomena reach their peak.

There are supernatural phenomena - though there are also some subtle hints about their source - but the real haunting is Eleanor's mental breakdown into paranoid psychosis, and whether it is she that triggers Hill House or Hill House that triggers her, it is the failure to recognise her condition that brings about the ending.

Funny: but all the more chilling and creepy and scary for it. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
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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 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.
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.
We have grown to trust blindly in our senses of balance and reason...
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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.

AR 6.3, 11 pts
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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