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The Haunting of Hill House (1959)

by Shirley Jackson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,3363161,097 (3.95)2 / 694
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 (92)
Kayla (3)
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English (307)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Japanese (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (316)
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
THIS is the kind of horror I like. Creepy creepy. Slow build to a BIG finish. Fantastic read. ( )
  Jessica_Olin | Sep 17, 2020 |
By no means did I hate this book, or even not like it, but it wasn't what I wanted it to be. It was an enjoyable read, but I was hoping for it to scare me and it never did. It's unsettling and odd, but never truly frightening. I don't want to say it, but I really feel that this book would have been better had it been just a little longer. Things felt unexplored, not fully fleshed out, like they could have been, and there are gaps in the narration that left me feeling a little bit lost. The whole thing just left me feeling a little eh, like my time could have been spent on a better book, but wasn't totally wasted on this one, if that makes any sense at all. ( )
  kiaweathersby | Sep 16, 2020 |
As a self-professed lover of the Gothic, I am rather embarrassed to admit that this is the first Shirley Jackson book I've ever read. Nor have I watched the movies based on her works. As a lame defence, I can state that I'm a greater fan of 19th Century ghost and horror fiction than of its more recent manifestations. But this book, though written in 1959, is an undisputed modern classic.

The novel starts traditionally enough. Dr John Montague, a paranormal investigator, together with three willing collaborators, goes to spend a summer in the allegedly haunted Hill House, a bizarre mansion built eighty years before by an eccentric businessman. It isn't long before the house starts living up to its reputation - doors close of their own accord, strange noises are heard during the night, ominous writings appear on the walls.

However, we soon realise that, despite the third-person narration, we are experiencing the house through the eyes and mind of one of the participants of the experiment - Eleanor, a shy, lonely and possibly disturbed young woman. In other words, Nell is the ideal candidate for the role of the proverbial unreliable narrator. Relationships start to crack faster than you can say "Big Brother". The tension mounts but it's more of the psychological than of the supernatural type. Indeed, Jackson leaves us in doubt as to whether the phenomena we've witnessed are otherworldly at all.

Did I find the novel terrifying? Not really, but that's likely because I read most of the book on a plane flight, in between safety announcements, air-hostesses peddling perfumes, drinks and scratch cards (!) and fellow passengers jostling to go to the toilet. I did feel a growing sense of unease as the novel progressed and ultimately I found the book delightfully disturbing.

Now on to Jackson's short stories! ( )
1 vote JosephCamilleri | Sep 12, 2020 |
I just can't do kooky characters, and I feel like this already short novel really could have been so much shorter. I much prefer We Have Always Lived in the Castle. ( )
  KimMeyer | Sep 8, 2020 |
198/250
illustrated by matt mahurin ( )
  Drfreddy94 | Sep 2, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (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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Dedication
For Leonard Brown
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.
Quotations
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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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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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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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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