Title: The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
Release Date: 1959
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Supernatural,
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.
The book that paved the way for all other supernatural books. The Haunting of Hill House is a book that has created widespread influence and is easily seen as a classic novel. Since I have not read many supernatural or thriller books, this was a very exciting experience for me.
First encountering the four main characters, I was very skeptical of Dr. Montague. I did not expect to like him as he was arrogant and presented himself as if he was better than others. Though, once the book got underway, I found that he was the only sane one when the others seemed unstable. He was a much needed anchor throughout the book, and actually ended up being one of my favorites.
When it came to the other characters, well, I underwent a love-hate relationship with them. In the beginning, Eleanor was a girl who had experienced too many people walking over her, but as things are revealed, the bit of innocence this lady possessed, seemed to dwindle. The same thing happened with Theodora. I believed her to be an eccentric and dramatic girl, but as the story unfolded, I found myself questioning my first impressions and why I had believed them to be true. I guess this is a common theme of the book as you question every action, and every word and thought that erupts from these characters.
I enjoyed this book, I feel that it has set a good standard that other similar books should follow. It laid out a plot that was easy to follow, yet made you second guess what you were reading, and why. This brought the story and its characters to life, producing an impactful ending that could only be manifested by a supernatural thriller.