book review

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson –Review

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.

-Goodreads Synopsis

Author: Shirley Jackson

My Rating: 5/5

My Favourite Quote: “Fear,” the doctor said, “is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway.”

I have heard so many good things about this book and after finishing a few other works by Shirley Jackson; Dark Tales and We Have Always Lived in the Castle recently I was so excited to get my hands on this book!

This story is both beautifully told and legitimately spooky. I don’t want to spoil anything but my goodness I love the characters in this story.

I admit I may be biased because I love Shirley Jackson’s writing style, but I think it works so well for a ghost story. Her writing and characterization is probably some of the most real I have encountered. I have never read such interesting and complex characters as hers. Jackson’s specialty seemed to be stories of isolation and anxiety and they are done impeccably.

Needles to say these are two feelings that are ever-present in this book, our main character Eleanor is escaping a dysfunctional home life to investigate the paranormal phenomena at Hill House at the behest of Dr. Montague. The descriptions of Hill House are viscerally wrong, it is described as disjointed, off-balance and claustrophobic. In my opinion Jackson’s skill in capturing anxiety makes her story about a haunted house feel incredibly real, and wonderfully spooky.

Knowing a bit about Jackson’s writing style and a bit about this book I did not expect it to be a normal story about a haunted house, and I was unsure about how prominent any legitimately scary elements there would be. I am happy to report that this is absolutely not a run of the mill scary story, and that it also is quite frightening!

I think this is a book that lingers, it is a very enjoyable read but you also can’t help think about it once you are done. As proof to this point, after I had finished this book and my bedroom door slammed shut on its own accord, my immediate thought was ghost! rather than my window is open… Which was the case…

Overall, I really can’t recommend this book enough! If you want to get into a spooky mood for the season I really think this will do the trick!

I will warn you to not read the introduction of this book until you have finished it, as it is quite spoiler filled, but I really would recommend reading it once you are done!

If you have read this book I’d love to hear your opinions! I also would love to hear if any of you are excited for the new show about this book? So far it apparently has good reviews so I’m intrigued!

 

Have a wonderfully spooky day!

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