Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Synopsis (by Goodreads):

The Haunting of Hill House 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, the 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.”

REVIEW:

This is my first Shirley Jackson novel. I had been familiar with her work thanks to the recent slew of adaptations in Hollywood, but had never actually read any of her work. Haunted Houses are my favorite of the horror genre, so I figured this would be the perfect pick to kick off spooky season. I think this is a good beginner horror book. It’s definitely creepy and has the normal gothic horror element of is this all actually happening or is this just in the lead character’s head. It’s not outright terrifying or gory, which are both positives for me.

The Haunting of Hill House feels like textbook horror, in that it is the standard that most set out to achieve. There is a lot of ambiguity in this novel; the reader is left to determine whether these horrors are actually happening, is Eleanor a victim in all this, or is everything happening in her own mind? I think the ambiguity is what makes it such a strong horror novel, and truly makes it feel creepy. I definitely recommend this novel if you are looking for something to get in the Halloween spirit.

RATING: 8/10

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