Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Haunting of Hill House” as Want to Read:
The Haunting of Hill House
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Haunting of Hill House

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  59,071 Ratings  ·  4,802 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 ...more
Hardcover, 174 pages
Published February 1st 1996 by Lightyear Press (first published 1959)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Haunting of Hill House, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Nancy Sculerati The horror seemed repressed life, a woman who has really lost her life after childhood. Sexuality is certainly a key part of adult life, but female…moreThe horror seemed repressed life, a woman who has really lost her life after childhood. Sexuality is certainly a key part of adult life, but female sexuality is not equivalent to a lesbian identity. (less)
Charles Actually, as far as I know, there are two films based on this book, kind of! They are both called "The Haunting." The 1963 version stars Julie Harris,…moreActually, as far as I know, there are two films based on this book, kind of! They are both called "The Haunting." The 1963 version stars Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson and Russ Tamblyn. As far as I remember it is both very atmospheric and pretty faithful to the book. The 1999 version stars Lili Taylor, Catherine-Zeta Jones, Liam Neeson and Owen Wilson. I haven't seen that one but I believe it is a kind of remake of the '63 film, but that they have changed some rather large elements of the book.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Bill  Kerwin
Feb 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
Oct 28, 2013 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is not about fear but rather the love of being afraid-- for the ravenous gauging of limits. Adrenaline is searched for.... neurosis & a collective paranoia ensue. Cause naturally follows effect.

"Books are frequently very good carriers... Materializations are often best produced in rooms where there're books. I cannot think of any time when material was in any way hampered by the presence of books." [186]

There is an aura of authentic literary splicing here: the psychological novel (
Jan 14, 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
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
Nov 21, 2016 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Sgt Pepper and the Citizen Kane of ghost stories.
Sep 19, 2012 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
Eerie classic tale of a haunted house!

I decided to (finally) read this book for Halloween 2016 and I am glad to have experienced it! Not sure quite what I was expecting and I didn't research before starting.

It's not really a horror story - it is creepy rather than scary and atmospheric rather than gory. I am a chicken and wasn't even remotely scared even once as I read.

After finishing I did some research and I found that a genre has been coined for this type of book - "haunted house story". The
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Sep 30, 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:


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
Dan Schwent
Aug 26, 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
Jan 07, 2012 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
Dec 29, 2011 Char rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Raeleen Lemay
Nov 05, 2016 Raeleen Lemay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, classics
This book was certainly eerie, creepy, and haunting. It was elegantly written, and the characters and plot immediately sucked me in. I highly recommend this for anybody looking for a slightly spooky, easy-to-read classic. I can't wait to read more Shirley Jackson!
Oct 05, 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
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
"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

October 5th/2015

[image error] 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????

[image error] photo 01b6eac4-b260-477d-ad6f-ec9e9bf8eead_zpssikq2f0k.jpg

How frightening!!! Hold me closer Tony Danza!

Hannah Greendale
The Haunting of Hill House is a slightly spooky read that follows four strangers into the depths of a haunted house with a mind of its own.

"No one knows, even, why some houses are called haunted."
"What else
could you call Hill House?" Luke demanded.
"Well - disturbed, perhaps. Leprous. Sick. Any of the popular euphemisms for insanity; a deranged house is a pretty conceit."

What makes The Haunting of Hill House compelling is the book's narrative voice:

This house, which seemed somehow to have fo
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
Mohammed Arabey
Feb 25, 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
Nov 12, 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
Feb 11, 2009 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
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
Jul 24, 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
Jan 30, 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
Althea Ann
Sep 26, 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
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.
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

Oct 31, 2013 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.
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!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Do You Even Readi...: 4B Scoring (Still think 'Quadbro' is A Good Moniker) 1 1 Mar 11, 2017 04:41PM  
Do You Even Readi...: The Movie 2 1 Mar 11, 2017 01:56PM  
Do You Even Readi...: Figuring Out Goodreads 3 2 Feb 13, 2017 05:13PM  
Do You Even Readi...: * THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE 4 3 Feb 11, 2017 12:53PM  
Sci-Fi & Fantasy ...: October - The Haunting of Hill House 19 20 Dec 16, 2016 09:15AM  
Cup of Coffee Boo...: Reviews! 1 3 Nov 08, 2016 09:35AM  
Could somebody please help me understand? 57 518 Oct 31, 2016 04:57PM  
  • Collected Ghost Stories
  • Ghost Story
  • Sweetheart, Sweetheart
  • Cold Hand in Mine: Strange Stories
  • The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
  • Gothic Tales
  • The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories
  • The House Next Door
  • Hell House
  • Nazareth Hill
  • Naomi's Room
  • Audrey's Door
  • The House on the Borderland
  • American Supernatural Tales
  • Don't Look Now: Selected Stories
  • Teatro Grottesco
  • Conjure Wife
  • Books of Blood: Volume Two (Books of Blood #2)
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
More about Shirley Jackson...

Share This Book

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.” 589 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.” 350 likes
More quotes…