The best-known of Shirley Jackson's novels, and the inspiration for writers such as Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, The Haunting of Hill House is a chilling story of the power of fear. "Shirley Jackson's stories are among the most terrifying ever written". (Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History). Four seekers have arrived at ...
The best-known of Shirley Jackson's novels, and the inspiration for writers such as Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, The Haunting of Hill House is a chilling story of the power of fear. "Shirley Jackson's stories are among the most terrifying ever written". (Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History). Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely assistant; Luke, the future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers - and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. Adapted into a film, The Haunting, starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson, The Haunting of Hill House is a powerful work of slow-burning psychological horror. Shirley Jackson's was born in California in 1916. When her short story The Lottery was first published in the New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent her hate mail; it has since become one of the most iconic American stories of all time. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, was published in the same year and was followed by five more: Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece. Shirley Jackson died in her sleep at the age of 48. If you enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House, you might like Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. "An amazing writer...If you haven't read her you have missed out on something marvellous". (Neil Gaiman). "As nearly perfect a haunted-house tale as I have ever read". (Stephen King). "The world of Shirley Jackson is eerie and unforgettable". (A. M. Homes). "Shirley Jackson is one of those highly idiosyncratic, inimitable writers ...whose work exerts an enduring spell". (Joyce Carol Oates).
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This is my all-time favorite haunted house book. I went to a book club meeting featuring this book and half the group found it "not scary" and the other half seemed somewhat mystified by the story. If "scary" to you means crazed psychopaths leaping out of the dark with meat cleavers then no, it is not scary. A house that is itself psychopathic provides maximum creep for me. Author Jackson builds this creep factor through the personal world of the central character with all the required things that go bump in the night. My copy is now so tattered I had to keep it in a plastic bag and am now buying a new copy.
Aug 6, 2013
This is a tedious story about unlikable people, not scary at all. Read 'The Lottery' instead.
Feb 23, 2012
TO much hype
The book is a good read but not as scary as people say it was.
Nov 7, 2008
I liked the book much better than any of the movie versions !! Small book, goes too quickly though.
Apr 18, 2007
Still a great read
The story is told from Eleanor's perspective and is very true to human nature. She alternately has very warm and cold feelings for the other guests. Added to this wonderful character study is the effect of Hill House on the company. A creepy place to start with it becomes more and more a seductive and dangerous member of the cast. A sprinkling of humor adds another facet of realism and helps to keep the mounting tension flowing, rather than being a distraction. This is a brilliantly written novel. I have seen the 1999 movie which as OK and plan to see the 1963 version soon. But, for me this story is better experienced by reading the novel. It is rich, complex, tense, thrilling and spooky. This doesn't read like a book from 1959, it is fresh and real and one of the best scary stories I have ever read.
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