Book Review | The Haunting of Hill House
Title: The Haunting of Hill House
Genres: Horror, Classic, Mystery, Fiction
Published by: Penguin Classics (Nov. 28, 2006 [originally 1959])
The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
What I Thought
A couple years ago, I read the short story, The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson. It was the first time I had read anything by her, and I found it so creepy. So, when I discovered The Haunting of Hill House, I thought it would be a perfect Halloween read. I wanted to read it last year, but I didn’t get a chance, so I’m so happy I finally got to read it this year!
I found the premise of this book to be very intriguing. All the guests, who all live very different lives, are invited to stay in a haunted house to see how they experience its hauntings. All the characters were very well-written, and I feel like each one helped make the story what it was. I felt like Eleanor made the perfect view-point character.
I really loved Shirley Jackson’s writing in this novel. It is so atmospheric, without being overly so. Also, unlike some classics, it’s writing is very straight to the point, without any unnecessary descriptors.
Also, while the book is eerie, and it definitely has its moments, it’s still not as scary as I anticipated. I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat, so that didn’t bother me, but it might be a bit disappointing if you love horror, and are expecting this book to be super scary. Still, let’s just say though, I personally, would never want to live in Hill House!
I really loved the book up until the ending. Personally, I found it to be a bit disappointing. I expected more. That being said, I know a lot of people found the ending to be perfect, so maybe you’ll love!
Overall, aside from the ending, I really enjoyed this book. I found it spooky, but not terrifying, and it was the perfect book to read during Halloween time. I would definitely recommend this book to those who love classic horror fiction, or anyone looking for something spooky to read.
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