The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

(No Series)

Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an 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 adventurous future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable noises and self-closing doors, but Hill House is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own...

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.” 

Alright, then. First things first. The back blurb is a bit misleading. Theodora is NOT the assistant of Dr. Montague, but one of the 'clients'. Eleanor is not homeless in the real sense of the word, either. She doesn't have a home of her own, but she does have a place to stay. Little pet peeves aside, on with the review.

The plot was more original back in its time, although it wasn't brand new then either. But that doesn't always matter. Jackson weaves an intriguing tale that goes slowly but smoothly through the motions. The book isn't filled with creepy scenarios, but when they do happen, they're big. Mainly The Haunting of Hill House is a character driven story, focusing on the internal issues of each character, mainly Eleanors.

Adequate backstory is given on all. Eleanor Vance is a realistically written woman with real doubts, insecurities, and serious life issues. Theodora is more spoiled, childish, and almost manic in her changing of emotion. The Dr. is interesting, especially with his stories, and Luke is amusing. I kept chuckling at the housekeeper. Since most of the book relies on characterization and not really action, it's important to note that it's easy to latch on to the key players. Slow and steady; it doesn't pick up through out the entire book, but it works on a deeper level, psychologically affecting the reader.

Jackson loves the ; mark, using it religiously. She writes with a stiffer, formal hand, using some creative phrases here and there.

The story is a classic. It will always be remembered, as it should be. The ending was a surprise, brilliant. A lot better than the modern movie version for sure. Nothings confusing, it's all there to be explored at leisure. This book should have a picture in the dictionary by 'mysteries that are cozy, relaxing reads.'

   Book Quotes:

“Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?” 

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

“All I could think of when I got a look at the place from the outside was what fun it would be to stand out there and watch it burn down.”

   Movie Trailer: