After reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle last year, I wanted to read another Shirley Jackson book this year. I chose The Haunting of Hill House because others have been enjoying it and because they had a copy available at the library. I had seen the 1999 film version, The Haunting, a few years back. Luckily I didn't remember much about it because they weren't very similar. This book was definitely a psychological thriller versus a gory, violent one.
A paranormal researcher selects a small group of people to accompany him to Hill House, a place built slightly off-kilter and with an inherent aura of gloom and despair. The professor, Dr. Montague, is hoping that a successful encounter with the spirit in the house will finally bring him the reputation he has been craving for years. Eleanor Vance is recovering from eleven years of nursing a demanding mother and so sees the chance to finally have an experience that is all her own. Theodora, a possible "sensitive", is high-spirited and makes a last-minute decision to join the group. Finally, Luke Sanderson is the future heir of Hill House and is joining the group as a condition of their being on the property. These four people bring their own shortcomings with them to the house but none are as severe as the issues the house already has inside its walls.
As you can guess, I chose this book as another read for the R.I.P. Challenge. From other people's reviews, I thought this would be a much scarier read than it turned out to be. I personally thought it was more disturbing than scary. It definitely fit in with what I expected from Shirley Jackson though. She specializes in exploring emotions and reactionary behavior in different situations. It's incredible to me how much depth she is able to fit into her novellas and short stories. I will definitely be reading more of her works soon -- perhaps with a re-read of The Lottery because I haven't read it since high school.
Comfortable in my house with no history,
Support our site and buy The Haunting of Hill House on Amazon or find it at your local library. We borrowed our copy from the library.