Book 16: The Haunting of Hill House

Author: Shirley Jackson, 1959
Genre: Horror
Format: Paperback, 243 pages

The word is, the house built by old Hugh Crain eighty some year ago is haunted. The people in the nearest village are terrified of it, so don’t you go around asking questions – they’ll drive you away. Many  mysterious deaths are tied to this place, and if you don’t want to join its restless inhabitants, don’t even think of staying after dark. You have been warned.

The Haunting of Hill House is such a delicious horror tale! It recounts a story of four unique individuals, who come to the Hill House to study the paranormal and to document their experiences. At least it looks that way at first. Eleanor is a lonely woman who realizes that she has wasted her youth to take care of her selfish mother. Driven by a desire to finally achieve something on her own, she packs her only suitcase, steals her sister’s car, and runs away to the Hill House following the letter written by a man she’s never met before. The author of the letter is Dr. Montague, a renowned professor studying paranormal activity. His goal is to invite several psychically sensitive people to the haunted house in order to observe their interactions with the phenomena. Along with Eleanor, the professor invites Theodora – a vain and passionate young woman, who enjoys nothing better than to be the center of attention. In a feat of another dramatic argument with her beau she walks out the door and leaves for a vacation at the Hill House. Then there is Luke of course, a nephew of the owner and the next of kin to inherit the house. The four of them spend a week at the haunted mansion and learn a thing or two about their own fears.

The book is written in a very rich yet accessible language that is exceptionally entertaining to follow. The strange noises in the dark surely gave me chills. Eleanor’s wondering on the edge between rationality and insanity made me wonder which events really took place, and which were imagined by the heroine. The ending was unexpected, yet very fitting. In the beginning Dr. Montague warns that Hill House does not let its visitors go easily, and it definitely resounds strongly in the end. A wonderful representative of its genre that would satisfy anybody looking for a good haunted house story. [ISBN: 978-0143039983]



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