Synopsis: 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.

Release Date: 9th October 2018 (this version) 15th October 1959 (Original Version)

Format Read: Paperback

Genres: Horror, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological, Paranormal

Pages: 256

(Before I review I must note to fans of the tv show thinking this is the same story please trust me it isn’t at all like the show. There are a few elements added into the show but it is a whole different story to the tv show.) 

Review: A doctor wanting to write a book about the hauntings of Hill House puts together a group of people to explore and examine the house and its hauntings. While there the group experience unusual events and mind games began. 

I found this book incredibly slow, it was hard to get into at first it felt like a whole lot of nothing was happening through the first few chapters. As they spent more time in Hill House their minds became more susceptible to things going on around them in the house. The house draws one of the guests in and deeply messes in their mind. 

I don’t really know exactly what to think about this book, I don’t hate it but I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was just kinda meh, it wasn’t a horror book like I was expecting it to be. It was way too slow paced and had sections of it that I felt could have been cut out it shortened yet were incredibly long pieces of text. It wasn’t an awful book but it wasn’t exactly the most thrilling or exciting book either. But I’m still glad I can now say I have read it.


Where to buy: Amazon, Wordery, Book Depository, Waterstones

About Author: Shirley Jackson was an influential American author. A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years. She has influenced such writers as Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson.

She is best known for her dystopian short story, “The Lottery” (1948), which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown America. In her critical biography of Shirley Jackson, Lenemaja Friedman notes that when Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery” was published in the June 28, 1948, issue of The New Yorker, it received a response that “no New Yorker story had ever received.” Hundreds of letters poured in that were characterized by, as Jackson put it, “bewilderment, speculation and old-fashioned abuse.”

Jackson’s husband, the literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, wrote in his preface to a posthumous anthology of her work that “she consistently refused to be interviewed, to explain or promote her work in any fashion, or to take public stands and be the pundit of the Sunday supplements. She believed that her books would speak for her clearly enough over the years.” Hyman insisted the darker aspects of Jackson’s works were not, as some critics claimed, the product of “personal, even neurotic, fantasies”, but that Jackson intended, as “a sensitive and faithful anatomy of our times, fitting symbols for our distressing world of the concentration camp and the Bomb”, to mirror humanity’s Cold War-era fears. Jackson may even have taken pleasure in the subversive impact of her work, as revealed by Hyman’s statement that she “was always proud that the Union of South Africa banned The Lottery‘, and she felt that they at least understood the story”.

In 1965, Jackson died of heart failure in her sleep, at her home in North Bennington Vermont, at the age of 48. 


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