The Haunting of Hill House

The haunting of Hill HouseI’ve just read (or been read to by David Warner as it was an eaudiobook ) The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson and can highly recommend it.

The best-known of Shirley Jackson’s novels, and the inspiration for writers such as Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is an eerie, chilling story of the power of fear. Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History has said that ‘Shirley Jackson’s stories are among the most terrifying ever written’

The story is about four seekers gathered together by a Dr Montague, an occult scholar, to spend a summer at rambling old pile known as ‘Hill House’, a haunted New England mansion. The group includes Luke, a bit of a wastrel, who has hopes of inheriting the estate and is there as a family member; Theodora, Dr. Montague’s assistant, a lesbian, bohemian artist with ESP; and Eleanor Vance, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past who is there because she experienced poltergeist phenomena as a child. She has spent the last 11 years of her life caring for her invalid mother, recently deceased.

At first, their stay seems destined to be ‘merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena’. It becomes much more than that as Hill House gathers its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

The book has been adapted for film twice – once in 1963 (this one is better rated and follows the book more closely) and more recently as ‘The Haunting’, starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson.

 Shirley Jackson was born in California in 1916. Other books include The Road Through the Wall, Hangsaman, The Bird’s Nest, The Sundial, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece.

She died in her sleep at the age of 48.