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Monthly Reads > August 2018 Group Read: The Haunting of Hill House

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message 1: by Dan (last edited Jul 23, 2018 02:23PM) (new)

Dan | 346 comments This opens the discussion topic for our August 2018 group book The Haunting of Hill House.

I notice that Netflix is offering a ten-show first season based on the book: http://www.denofgeek.com/us/tv/the-ha... I am glad Netflix is doing it. They nailed Daredevil in a way I never imagined it could be, staying absolutely true to the source material, so I expect a good job will be done here too. The premiere is set for All Hallows Eve. Here's our chance to get in on the ground floor by reading the book first.


message 2: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 557 comments I plan to start reading this book this coming weekend.

If memory serves, this group has had two monthly reads for Robert Aickman, Reggie Oliver, and now Shirley Jackson.

Livia Llewellyn is a special case. :)


message 3: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 557 comments 1. I'm reading the Penguin edition of The Haunting of Hill House.

2. I read the Introduction--its a thing I do. I find this interesting:
"The true antecedents of The Haunting of Hill House are not the traditional English ghost stories of M.R. James or Sheridan LeFanu, or even the gothic fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, but the ghostly tales of Henry James.'

3. The novel starts with exposition. Here we learn of the four main characters of the novel: Dr. Montague, the paranormal investigator. Two women, Eleanore and Theodora , each of whom had experienced paranormal events. Eleanore, it seems, had experienced poltergeist phenomenon; Theodora did extremely well on the Zener card tests. The fourth character is Luke Sanderson, the young heir to Hill House.

4. Eleanore travels to the house. Of the four main characters, she is the first to arrive. Not long after, Theodora arrives. There is pretty good rapport between Eleanore and Theodora. Twenty five percent done with the book.


message 4: by Randolph, Randy (new)

Randolph (us227381) | 161 comments Ronald wrote: "1. I'm reading the Penguin edition of The Haunting of Hill House.

2. I read the Introduction--its a thing I do. I find this interesting:
"The true antecedents of The Haunting of Hill House are not..."


I totally agree that the antecedent is more in the Henry James mode, however the Professor’s name is Montague.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) I read this one a couple years ago and loved it! I'm in for the discussion but probably won't re-read it at this time.


message 6: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 557 comments 5. The other two main characters enter the story, Luke and Dr. Montague. The four main characters seems to get along with each other very well.

6. Dr. Montague explains the building's history, which encompasses accidental death and suicide.

7. The interior architecture of the house is unusual. Some characters are concerned that they might not find their way around the house. To resolve this problem, Dr. Montague--if I recall correctly--left doors open. Yet these doors were later closed.

9. Dr. Montague explains the eccentric interior design of the house. The angles are not straight. For example, steps and floors are slightly titled. This is given as a reason why the doors which were opened got closed--the doors closed simply because of gravity. But is this naturalistic reason correct? I can see why, in the book's Introduction, the stories of Henry James is considered the true antecedents of The Haunting of Hill House.

10. The narrative is smoothly written and goes at a good pace. My reader says I'm 50 percent done.


(Mellifluous Grant) (raeallic) | 5 comments I would be interested to hear anyone's opinion of Nell's 'obsession' with Shakespeare's Twelfth Night? Both with the song that comes to her mind when she first sets her eyes upon Hill House and with the constant refrain of Journeys End, in Lover's Meeting.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) Ronald wrote: "7. The interior architecture of the house is unusual."

The interior design of the the house brought to mind The Dreams in the Witch House by H.P. Lovecraft.


message 9: by Alex (new)

Alex | 6 comments One of the best openings in a novel:

“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.”


(Mellifluous Grant) (raeallic) | 5 comments Alex wrote: "One of the best openings in a novel:

“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 Hou..."


Yes it is by far, I was giddy with delight to find they had used it to open the 1963 movie!


message 11: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 557 comments 11. Read from the 50 percent point to the 75 precent point. Two main things: assorted supernatural phenomenon, and the discovery and reading of a creepy scrap book by Mr. Crane. So far, this book is a solid four stars for me.


message 12: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 557 comments 12. Two additional characters enter the story: Mrs. Montague, and Arthur, who if memory serves is a school teacher. Her character is shown by what she says. She thinks spirits are real, though she strikes me like a New Age 'psychic' type--she has the view that spirits don't have nefarious motives.

12. Mrs. Montague wants to do planchette. According to Wikipedia,: "A planchette ( /plɑːnˈʃɛt/ or /plænˈʃɛt/), from the French for "little plank", is a small, usually heart-shaped flat piece of wood equipped with two wheeled castors and a pencil-holding aperture, used to facilitate automatic writing. The use of planchettes to produce mysterious written messages gave rise to the belief that the devices foster communication with spirits as a form of mediumship. "

13. Mr. Montague thinks planchette is nonsense. Mrs. Montague and Arthur get some words from planchette.

14. There are paranormal events in the house. It seems though, in some cases, Eleanor is the only one aware of these events. Or perhaps she is losing touch with reality? There is one scene where the original four main characters experience the house shaking. Arthur and Mrs. Montague slept right through it. This provides some comedy.

15. Eleanor winds up in a precarious part of the house, yet she says she is happy and considers Hill House her home. The other characters fear that she is going to fall; with the help of Luke, she makes it down the stairs safely.

16. Because of her behavior, the characters think its best for her to leave. Eleanor gets into the car, and gets killed by driving into a tree.

17. The novel's opening paragraph has been remarked upon. The novel's last paragraph I think is strong too.

18. I'm going to throw out an interpretation. Its not, strictly speaking, a ghost, like that of a deceased person, behind the paranormal events, but more like a Genius loci. Sort of like an intelligence that is part of the house. Dr. Montague said there was an underground stream. After perusing some woo-woo websites, I came across this: "...One special quality of blind springs is that they seem to have an effect on consciousness..." I came across related stuff about ley lines and earth energies.


message 13: by Robin (new)

Robin Bonne (rbonne) | 1 comments This is my all-time favorite book, so Netflix deviating so far from the original plot worries me. After how disappointing the 1999 movie was, I don’t know if I can watch it be butchered again.


message 14: by Randolph, Randy (new)

Randolph (us227381) | 161 comments The b&w movie from the 1960s was pretty good.


(Mellifluous Grant) (raeallic) | 5 comments Randolph wrote: "The b&w movie from the 1960s was pretty good."

Agreed! I loved how close they kept it to the original story.


message 16: by Ronald (new)

Ronald (rpdwyer) | 557 comments Anyone see the tv adaptation?

I haven't yet. A co-worker said to me that it is "99 percent very good and 1 percent bad."


message 17: by Bruna (new)

Bruna | 5 comments The TV adaptation is pretty good though very very loosely adapted except for using some paragraphs from the book in the narration and character names...


message 18: by Bruna (new)

Bruna | 5 comments What I mean is do not expect Hill House, it's more a reimagining...


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