Monday, November 2, 2009

171 - The Haunting of Hill House; Shirley Jackson







Doctor Montague, is a psychic researcher of sorts, who has rented Hill House for the summer. He invites three strangers to spend a summer somewhere in New England at Hill House. Some seemingly unnatural deaths have occurred there, and the house has a reputation of being haunted. Everything about the house is creepy beginning with its isolated location. Despite this, these individuals come together and agree to report their findings regarding any paranormal activity.

Eleanor Vance is a 32 year old, shy lonely young woman, who has spent much of her last ten years caring for her sick mother who recently died. She is and interesting and very complex character. Eleanor has lead a pretty sheltered life, and little does she know, she is part of an experiment.  On her drive to Hill House she makes up a story about how she lived there at one time.  Once she arrives she soon becomes chatty with the other female of the group, Theodora. Theodora seems to be the polar opposite of Eleanor personality-wise. However, the two seem to get along well together, and Theo helps Eleanor to break out of her shell a bit.  Luke, is the third member of the group. He is a bit of a playboy and Hill House has been in his family. He will one day be Hill House's new owner. Luke is there to more or less watch over the property.  Before long, he comes between the two women, and when this happens the tension and suspense builds with disastrous results.

My Thoughts: Shirley Jackson's writing style is what makes this book terrific. The way she seems to go into Eleanor's mind, and that technique often leaves you wondering if something is real or was it product of Eleanor's imagination. It's a chilling tale, with cool rooms, hammering sounds for no reason, that creates an atmosphere not of gore or real horror, but one that will surely keep you on the edge of your seat, and perhaps biting your nails in the process. The Haunting of Hill House is recommended for anyone who loves a good, creepy, psychological ghost story.

19 comments:

  1. This sounds like the perfect book for Halloween!

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  2. Maybe it'll be my Halloween pick for next year- sounds great! :-)

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  3. I absolutely loved this book!! Great review!

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  4. I read my first Shirley Jackson not too long ago (We Have Always Lived in the Castle), and I liked it, but didn't LOVE it. I do think Jackson is great at ratcheting up the suspense and keeping her readers guessing, and this sounds like it hits all the right notes. I would like to try more Jackson in the future, so I will keep this one in mind.

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  5. I have always wanted to read this. Glad to hear it is as good as I hoped.

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  6. I just read another review of this book that loved it just as much ... defnitely going to check it out!

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  7. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm thinking of rereading this, even though I just read it for the first time earlier this year. I love Jackson's writing!

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  8. Great review - I've been wanting to read this book for years. I Jackson's short story, "The Lottery." I need to move this up my list of books to read!

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  9. This one does sound like the perfect book to read at this time of the year. Thank you for your review.

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  10. Sounds like one of those no sleep books. I'd love to love them, but can't bring myself to sacrifice my sleep time.

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  11. I concur with the Kathy and Marie!

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  12. This book has been on my list for awhile. I have heard such great things about it.

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  13. I'll be reading this one next Halloween!

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  14. I agree that her writing set this apart! I loved it, though not quite as much as Castle.

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  15. I not only liked this book, but the movie scared the bejeebers out of me (I was in my middle teens).

    I think Jackson had great potential as a female writer of horror—there are few of them—but she died at the untimely age of 48.

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  16. When I first read this book, I didn't think much of it. However, I have read it a few times since and I like it more each time I pick it up.

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  17. I made the big mistake of reading this when I was a 14-yr-old babysitting. Big mistake. Really big mistake. I'm not sure I ever recovered--I never read this kind of books anymore.

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  18. This book sounds really good. I am hoping to read it sometime.

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