The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

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Took my own photo for this one. I might do this from time to time, if I deem them bearable to look at.

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The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

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First of all, let me say that it took me months to read this book. I started reading it as soon as I bought it, but finished it almost half a year later, but that does not mean that it is a bad book. Or does it?

The reason for it to take me so long to read it is the fact that I thought the first few chapters were quite a drag. Nothing happens, just folks running around, examining the house and whatnot. After that, stuff does start happening, but still nothing in a sense that you would feel horrified or scared for your life, or the life of the characters. Nothing like that. At this point I was starting to wonder, how in the world is this book considered a classic. A horror classic. I had enough of reading only a few pages per week, so I sat down and finished it. And I am glad I did, because I got my answer.

After a while the occurrences that do start happening, do seem a bit odd like I said, but nothing special. The book does hit off when our main protagonist, Eleanor, starts acting strange. We are there to follow her thoughts and actions through the whole book, so when we are, for example, presented a sweet dialog between her and the other people who are researching the house, we get stunned. We, and the other characters, see nothing wrong in what is going on, but we see the wrong in the mind of Eleanor. She is starting to lose it, and we can see that clear as day, and later on, the other characters start picking up on it too. Now, this is where things start getting complicated. This is the point where you have to ask yourself, who is losing his or her mind?

The answer to that question is found by reading on. What I started noticing, was that on certain pages, I had no idea what was going on. I read through these pages over and over again, but I just could not grasp them in a sense, to figure out what it all means. I was starting to lose touch with the reality portrayed in the book. I myself started to wander off. And this is the point when I figured it out – this is how it is mean to be. The book itself is written in a way that not only the character, but you yourself, start losing it. Just like her, you are confused and not sure what is going on. There are no words to describe this type of feeling, so I suggest that you pick the book up and read it. If nothing else, you have to pick it up for the climax. It is absolutely phenomenal, and the second greatest and brightest point in the book.

In the end, we figure out that we do not need monsters to scare us. We all have our own monsters, and if we pair them up with confusion and misunderstanding, we get the real horror. This book proves its point by inducing you into that state, and you are able to see just how easy it is for you to think that you are out of your mind.

Now, because I always rate honestly and the fact that it took me so long to finish it, I cannot just cross it out and state that the first quarter of the book was not a drag. It was. At least for me. So all in all, I am giving it….

Book recommendation: 9/10

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17 thoughts on “The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

  1. stephrichmond 28 Jul 2017 / 11:52 am

    I love this book, thank you for the reminder because I haven’t read it for years and now I’m off to find myself a copy to curl up with.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike Ridenour 28 Jul 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Thanks for the review. I’ve seen two movies based on it and in both they hook you early. It is brave for a writer to resist the urge to go for the early grab in order to take you slowly into the story line just as the main character falls into it. I’ll have to give it a read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • vikingreviewsblog 29 Jul 2017 / 12:00 pm

      Well, movies have to hook you on early, otherwise you just skip. With books, I think, the author does have some time to hook you. Actually, I rarely stumble upon a book, that hooks me right from the beginning.

      Like

  3. ibizagoldgirl 28 Jul 2017 / 4:26 pm

    I am familiar with the story but have never read this book, sounds fab, I will give this a go. Thanks for the recommendation – excellent review

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aderonke Alade 28 Jul 2017 / 10:35 pm

    I read books only by authors, but now you make me want to read other books.
    By the way, what do you think of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti’s books.

    Like

    • vikingreviewsblog 29 Jul 2017 / 12:05 pm

      Never ever read only by select few authors. You will miss a lot of great books. I mean, just fly through a few of my reviews, most are from Indie authors and most of the books are great.
      I can’t really say anything, as I have never read any of theirs. I have heard of Dekker’s Three, but I have yet to read it. Believe it or not, I have so much books to read right now, and books that I want to read, that I would need another life to probably finish it all, haha.

      Like

      • Aderonke Alade 30 Jul 2017 / 12:24 am

        Please allow me to say, I have two of your kind as siblings and somehow they have rubbed off on me. I would definitely read through your reviews.

        Like

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