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The Haunting of Hill House

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  52,830 Ratings  ·  4,097 Reviews
Past the rusted gates and untrimmed hedges, Hill House broods and waits...

Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, and occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventur

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Hardcover, 182 pages
Published October 16th 1959 by Viking Books (first published 1959)
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DM I didn't think of it as horror, but it was a prominent theme, so it could be. I took the horror to be her own self-consciousness and how she was…moreI didn't think of it as horror, but it was a prominent theme, so it could be. I took the horror to be her own self-consciousness and how she was always judging herself and others to the point that it overwhelmed her. I can see your interpretation, though, that part of her is urging her to "come home" or embrace her sexuality, or alternatively, telling her to return to her prior life before this part of her was revealed. If that is the case, what do you make of the ending of the book, and what do you make of the fact that she can sense everything that happens inside the house?(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
Shirley Jackson, you saucy little devil, where have you been all my life? I never knew she could spread prose like this. This is an impressive bit of work and definitely belongs among the classics of literate horror novels.

Right from the first pitch, you can see that Ms Jackson…Shirl…is smitten with language and she uses it to great effect to create an emotionally charged, disorientating atmosphere with healthy heapings of melodrama. Very gothic in feel and actually reminded me of Wuthering Hei
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Keith
Jan 19, 2009 Keith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Erm. This book was lent to me with the assurance that it was one of the ten-or-so greatest horror novels of all time.

So, just having finished it, I'm already forgetting having read it. The two stars it gets are because, quite literally, "it was ok" -- Jackson has an interesting writing style and an ear for consistent, if not always realistic, quirky dialogue. But the characters spend so much time being weirdly objective about their own fears that when bad stuff happens, I feel sort of...objecti
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Bill  Kerwin
Jul 11, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Haunting of Hill House (1959) is justly revered as an exemplar of the horror genre, not only because its plot provides the template for all those haunted house tales to come, but also because its superb prose and subtle psychology transcend genre, transforming what might otherwise be a sensational tale into a artful novel worthy of the discerning reader..

The novel suffers from its own pervasive influence, for, as soon as it gets underway, it seems—whether or not you've seen either movie vers
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Shawn
Why rehash what the 5 star reviewers say below? Why even engage the lame arguments by the people who didn't enjoy the book (weak ending? unrealistic dialogue!? not enough happens!?! Christ, people, have an imagination! - although I will say this, they don't seem to be teaching kids what an "unreliable narrator" is in school nowadays, as this book is all about Eleanor's weak and self-centered take on her surroundings and how that slowly gets worked over by Hill House - so an unreliable narration ...more
Jason
Dec 03, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mom has always said that an involuntary shudder—a shiver going up your spine, if you will—indicates someone having just walked over your grave. That cold spot you pass through when walking from the living room into the foyer? That’s not a draft of unheated air coming from upstairs (cold air sinks, you’ll recall)—no, that’s a ghost. And the message written in blood on your bathroom mirror this morning? Well, er, let’s just ignore that for the time being. But really, what is our obsession with ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Oct 07, 2015 Kelly (and the Book Boar) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Don't Wear Pants
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

WARNING: THIS REVIEW WILL USE ALLLLLLL OF YOUR DATA. GET THEE TO A REAL ‘PUTER OR AN UNLIMITED CELL PHONE PLAN BEFORE READING.

My first official buddy read with the Non-Crunchy Cool Classic Pantsless ones . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

Turns out they picked kind of a crunchy one. I should have known those bastages were just trying to trick me! The Haunting of Hill House wasn’t awful, but it was most definitely a slow roller and more of an eerie tale rather tha
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Dan Schwent
Oct 06, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
October Buddy Read with the Pantsless Ones

When an occult scholar recruits people to help him research the paranormal events at Hill House, will the house let any of them leave unscathed?

I've heard this touted as a classic haunted house story for decades and finally decided to take the plunge when the Pantless Ones picked it for an October read. I was not overly impressed.

I don't know if this was the case of wrong book/wrong time but I was not engaged by this book. All of the characters seemed li
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Lyn
May 25, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird, weird book.

Jackson was a masterful storyteller, using a minimalistic approach and a terse, almost journalistic narrative, she creates a mood and sense of expectancy and mystery that grips the reader slowly and completely and lasts until the very end.

And unlike other ghost stories that struggle with an ending, Jackson's haunted house tale brilliantly ends with the same mystery and psychological tension as the narrative held throughout, she leaves the reader without a falsely satisfying c
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Evgeny
Oct 17, 2015 Evgeny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is a buddy read in a super-secret group which I will not name for the fear of a fatal accident I will have if I do name it. However I will name the people involved: Licha, Anne, Steve, Jeff, Miriam, Stepheny, Delee, Dan, Dan 2, Alissa, Tadiana, Ginger, Kristin, Christopher, and Kelly. Speaking about Kelly, I have no chances whatsoever to write a better review than hers, but the guy can still hope, can't he? Please let me know if I forgot somebody.

Let me put you in the right mood for the re
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Charlene
A super scary book with sentences that you want to stop and marvel over.
This is an excellent haunted house story with a psychological aspect.
HIGHLY recommended!

Quote: “I am like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster, she thought, and the monster feels my tiny little movements inside.”

And what I think is the best opening paragraph in all of literature:

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by
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Aoibhínn
The plot, of The Haunting of Hill House, is about three people named, Eleanor, Theodora and Luke, who are invited to stay in a supposedly haunted house for the summer to aid a scientist, Dr. Montague, in his pursuit of paranormal investigation. The book started out as a tale about a creepy old haunted house and then turned into a story about a young mentally unstable woman losing her mind.

I was disappointed by this book to be honest. I felt the novel did not live up to its potential and it certa
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Delee

October 5th/2015

 photo 502268c2-5a37-4b1d-b9af-9a3d29946b27_zps00ifq02t.jpg

What is that you say? ANOTHER buddy-read with The Non-Crunchy Cool Classic Pantsless Buddy Read Group????

 photo 01b6eac4-b260-477d-ad6f-ec9e9bf8eead_zpssikq2f0k.jpg

How frightening!!! Hold me closer Tony Danza!

Jean
"Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

This comes from the opening to The Haunting of Hill House, a 1959 novel by Shirley Jackson, an American writer who died far too young at the age of
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Mohammed Arabey
Aug 20, 2016 Mohammed Arabey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
بهذه الرواية "الكلاسيكية" ستواجه ما هو أكثر رعبا من البيوت المسكونة
رعب الوحدة...والمحاولات اليائسة "للانخراط" الاجتماعي التي تصاب بالفشل

A novel about a Horror more terrifying than Haunted Houses..
The Horror of Loneliness, and the Desperate attempts to socially fit in.

لم اجد ترجمة لكلمة "فيت أين" سوي الانخراط..ربما التأقلم أو التكيف.. ولكن هذا فعلا ماشعرت به خلال قراءتي للرواية واكثر ما ارعبني بالحكاية .. اكثر ما سبب لي الأنقباض بتلك الرواية الامريكية الشهيرة التي تعود ل1959 والتي تعد من الكلاسيك
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Councillor
Tales about haunted houses are by now as common as major character deaths in Game of Thrones (sorry, couldn't resist that comment), but it seems like Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House belongs to those classic stories which caused the hype first of all. Shirley Jackson may be best known for her dystopian short story The Lottery which initially introduced me to her writing, but in the end, Hill House is what made her a commonly mentioned presence in the genre of classic horror stories. ...more
Sam
Jan 09, 2009 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
What are we talking about when we talk about genre fiction? Some people say it's a matter of tropes: a murder weapon, an android army, a haunted house. But a trope is just the shadow of a construction that used to be meaningful, and among the glut of police procedurals and space odysseys, good writers have always been mining the violence, loneliness, and paranoia that hides in the depths of our common forms. For Patricia Highsmith, a murder weapon wasn't just window dressing - it was an expressi ...more
Brad
Jun 02, 2010 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, classic
Rarely have my feelings about a book been so jumbled.

I hated all The Haunting of Hill House's characters so much that I couldn't stand reading the book, yet Shirley Jackson's need to make us hate all the characters in the book, and her success impressed the hell out of me.

But then I wondered if the reason I hated the characters was not genuinely because of the book, but because of the crappy film version from 1999. Jan de Bont's remake, The Haunting, was abysmal, and the performances of its four
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Anne
Nov 13, 2007 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was once so in love with Shirley Jackson that I declared I'd marry the man who could identify the source of this passage:

"Don't do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup
of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone
else you will never see your cup of stars again"

Thank goodness this didn't happen (this was before search engines, by the way), but I'll hold to the opinion that Shirley Jackson is one of the most intriguing writers of the 20th century. Even if the man
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Sam
Aug 26, 2007 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody
Shelves: fiction, woodrif2011
The Haunting Of Hill House is so much more than a haunted house story. At it's heart it's a psychological profile of a very troubled woman trying to find a place in the world. I'm sure it's chock full of symbolism, if you're one of them literary nerd types. Symbolism is all well and good, but if it weighs down the story then what's the point? Jackson doesn't spend an excessive amount of time on it - she simply tells the story in short vignettes, leading the reader through scenes of lyrical calm ...more
Sarah
Feb 03, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many authors who can evoke a visceral reaction. What distinguishes Shirley Jackson is her thorough understanding of those reactions. This is not just a horror story but very much a study of the horror genre as well as of the human psyche.

This book speaks to a profound alienation, the kind you have to be very alone, very afraid, and very angry for a very long time to truly understand. I know this protagonist. I know this place and just how easy it is to succumb to it. If you want to kno
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Lotte
This was phenomenal! I can't recommend recommend Shirley Jackson's writing enough. I think I still prefer We Have Always Lived in the Castle a bit more, but still. This is a true masterpiece.
Jan Philipzig
Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House from 1959 can be read as the disturbing psychological study of a woman’s descent into madness (an overbearing mother and sexual repression appear to play key roles), yet on the surface it is little more than genre fare: a chilling haunted house story. I love how everything feels at once complex and lurid, gorgeous and hideous, poetic and merciless. Brilliant stuff—a true classic of psychological horror!
Carol
Everyone has arrived, the gates are locked, and the house insists you stay........sound scary? Well, unfortunately it isn't really, but it does have its moments, and it is a Shirley Jackson 1950's horror classic after all.

Dr. Montague is writing a book on psychic phenomena and has invited three peculiar guests to assist him with an exploratory scientific experiment by staying in a well known evil haunted house. As darkness falls each day, the deadly cold house seems to come alive with poltergeis

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Alex
Sep 30, 2014 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, gothic
You ever see a dog experience snow for the first time? Utterly mystified, right? "Ahhhhh, what the fuck is this, it's amazing!" Galumphing madly about. Trying to eat it. Batshit with ecstatic confusion.

That's how I felt about this book. I had no idea what was going on, until the very end, and I only had one or two ideas even then. Are these people crazy? Is the house haunted? Is there a bad guy? Is this supposed to be funny? But I loved every sentence.

Man, do I dig Shirley Jackson.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars for this classic 1959 haunted house tale. It's creepy in a subdued, elusive sort of way--not the sort of explicit horror that we're more used to nowadays.

The psychological exploration of the various characters who gather at the isolated Hill House was intriguing, especially Eleanor, the timid, disturbed young woman who is the main character. And the house seems to be finding those cracks in her psyche and exploiting them. It's got some subtleties to it that impress me more, the longer
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Althea Ann
Oct 20, 2015 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A re-read... but I believe I first read it 25, maybe even 30 years ago, so it fell into the category of 'everything old is new again.'

Of course, this is the classic book the Shirley Jackson is most well known for, and a haunted house story which has set the benchmark for the genre.

A professor with an interest in the paranormal has heard rumors about Hill House - a remote mansion that's been shut up for years, in the wake of a family tragedy. In order to properly investigate the reputed phenomena
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Steve
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alon ...more
Caroline
***ALL SPOILERS HIDDEN***

As scary novels go, The Haunting of Hill House is a lightweight--majorly. The character of Eleanor sums up what it feels like to read this book:
“It’s not us doing the waiting,” Eleanor said. “It’s the house. I think it’s biding its time.” “Waiting until we feel secure, maybe, and then it will pounce.”
The house “bides its time” for most of the story. The first haunting scene occurs at the book’s halfway point, and it, along with all the others, is unlikely to scare the
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BrokenTune
Nov 04, 2015 BrokenTune rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"NO LIVE organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream."

As I may have mentioned before, this must be one of the most perfect opening lines in literature. And it is so befitting of the book...

Allright, I dragged my heels reading this book. Not only am I not a fan of horror, I had also had a disappointing experience with Shirley Jackson in the past which left me dismissing her other books.

However, Hallo
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Gregor Xane
Upon finishing this book I knew two things:

1) Its reputation in my mind would grow over time

2) I wanted to revisit it in the near future and give it another read (which is something I rarely even consider)

For me, it didn't have the visceral impact that many people report after reading it. I didn't find the book scary. In fact, some aspects I found rather silly, like the introduction of Mrs. Montague near the end of the book. She was such a broadly drawn caricature of a overbearing wife, and she
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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 Ameri
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More about Shirley Jackson...

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“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.” 524 likes
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.” 261 likes
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