“I read this book because Stephen King mentioned it in at least two of his books, so obviously it influenced his work. It was a bit slow to start and the language and behavior of the characters was dated. The characters, mostly in their 20s and 30s, seemed stunted. I might have grabbed my friend's hand and run down a path giggling together as a teenager, but not as a grown woman. Maybe that's how they rolled back in the 1950s or whenever. I also didn't find it that scary, even though it's supposed to be this famous horror novel. It was okay. I can see how the idea of a house itself being haunted and possessed influenced The Shining. It was okay, but not quite as riveting as I had hoped.”Julie H wrote this review Sunday, September 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Jackson is the author of "The Lottery" a short story assigned me when I was in high school and still one of the most chilling stories I've ever read, so I expected this to be good and stylish and I wasn't disappointed. The only thing dating the story (it was published in 1959) was the use of the word "gay" to mean light-hearted. The story has a lot of leavening humor, wit, banter and reads very quickly--it took me a few hours.
The house itself is, of course, itself a vivid character--an enormous Victorian, built purposely off-center, with a veranda surrounding it--furnished with statuary, drapes with tassels, mounted animal head, and plenty that goes bump in the night. Dr John Montague seeks to investigate Hill House, which has a reputation of being haunted, so invites people with a psychic connection to spend the summer with him as observers--two young women, Theodora and Eleanor, accept his invitation. Also present is Luke, a representative of the family that owns the house.
Eleanor, a woman who spent her youth taking care of her recently deceased mother, is the main character through whom the story is told. Awkward because so long isolated, fanciful, she's a sympathetic, even if nervous figure who as a child had experienced a poltergeist-like phenomenon. In the end I'm not sure if Hill House haunted her, or she haunted it. The kind of story that lingers even after you finish reading.”
“Two films have been based on this book. Creepy!”Phyllis Chaffin wrote this review Wednesday, May 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I just finished Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and like a lot of critically praised masterpieces, I’ve been for the most part bored out of my mind.
Sure, it’s well-wrtten and literary, but well-written literary fiction doesn’t translate to entertaining here.
scary house, assorted house guests with wildly different backgrounds thrown together to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural. Ok, fine, but for a supposed lurking house terror, it’s a shy one, taking over a hundred pages just to rattle a fricking doorknob! Was this scary by 1950′s standards, or am I simply the product of my uncouth upbringing in the Indiana Public School System, where I was force-fed fine literature, an experience about as much fun as being tear gassed (which I have been, but that’s for another blog). Arguably, the latter might be true, as my priorities back then were chasing tail and getting drunk on cherry vodka in the boy’s bathroom before my first class started.
Still, shaky doorknobs, cold-spots, a long build-up to pedestrian poltergeist activities, and trying to figure out if one of the characters is a lesbian or not, made me want to go running back to my copy of Stephen King’s It.
“Shirley Jackson really puts other horror writers to shame. The psychological aspects of her writing are so much more frightening than any blood and gore could ever be.”tstan wrote this review Sunday, April 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
A professor wants to investigate - scientifically! - the haunted Hill House. He invites many people, but only a few show up - the lovely Dorothea, the man who will inherit the house, the professor, and Eleanor, who the house has decided to claim for its own.
It's creepy in a gothic fashion and was exactly want I wanted to read after reading about Poe. Even if you don't like typical horror novels, try this out.”
“The reportedly haunted Hill House is the star of this horror tale even more so than the 4 people who have come to live there for the summer. Dr. Montague, who is a scholar studying the supernatural, invites three others to join him in his quest to prove the old mansion is indeed haunted. Luke Sanderson is the heir to the property; Eleanor Vance is a 32-year old woman who has spent much of her life caring for a sick mother; Theodora (just Theodora) is a self-proclaimed psychic. These four intend to spend the summer at Hill House recording all they experience for a book that Dr. Montague intends to author.
Hill House is a bizarre collection of rooms within rooms, angles that do not meet, doors that refuse to stay open and sudden bitterly cold areas. It becomes an almost living breathing entity during the story and it is immediately obvious that it wants Eleanor. Eerie laughter and muffled conversations are often heard in empty rooms; loud knocking on doors become a nightly experience; mysterious writing appears on the walls. Eleanor is frightened but feels herself being pulled into the house itself and ultimately not wanting to leave.
I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if I hadn't read the particular edition that I did. It is part of Stephen King's Horror Library with a lengthy introduction by King which was very interesting all the way up to the point where he tells you the ending. Really? What kind of "introduction" is that? Other than that I thought the story was quite creepy and the house is positively frightening. The interactions between the four houseguests are well developed even though they all seem to have developed involved fantasy lives for themselves. I really enjoyed Dr. Montague's wife - what a shrew! - but she definitely livened things up when she came for her visit. On the whole it was a good read. ”
“This was one of those books I have heard about for years, and figured I would read at some point. The opportunity fell into my lap with finding it on CD at my local library, and I have to say it was very good. I understand it was the inspiration for two film adaptations. I won't go into comparisons with those in my review. I will, however, bring up the fact that Stephen King has cited this book as a major influence on him, and there is speculation that it inspired Rose Red. Whether that is true or not is not for me to decide, but I did find the similarities between the two very apparent. Not a judgement on SK or Rose Red! In fact, I liked the similarities, and enjoyed seeing where King may have drawn inspiration. Putting all that aside and speaking of Shirley Jackson's book itself, I loved how it began, and how it ended. I did lose some interest through the middle of the narrative, unfortunately. I suspect another reading will be in order one day. Regardless, I highly recommend the book to any reader who loves slowly building menace and subtle but effective terror. This house is one of the most frightening I have ever read about, because it doesn't give up its secrets easily, and always gets what it wants in the end.”Wayne M wrote this review Monday, March 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Read for The Gothic in Literature and Film course. This book read fairly easily and kept a steady pace. I think it built very well, both in plot and in Eleanor's mental state. Mrs. Montague was perfectly hateable.”Cathy wrote this review Monday, March 4, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“THE haunted house book, with layers on layers, classic and spine-chilling. MUST READ!!! Considered to be one of the most formidable achievements in genre fiction....ever.”Gary Van Dolzer wrote this review Friday, March 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No