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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Book Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Dr. Montague, an investigator of all things supernatural, invites a small group to join him in staying in an eighty-year old mansion, Hill House, where strange and unusual events have been known to occur. Within this group is Eleanor Vance, a recluse having spent most of her life looking after her ill mother; Theodora, an outspoken artist; and Luke Sanderson, the heir to Hill House.


"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

Have you ever read a better opening to a book than that? BLEW. MY. MIND. I have to say, I absolutely love Shirley Jackson's style of writing. There's something about it that just sucked me in and wouldn't let go. Again, I feel like this is the kind of book, if you haven't read it already, that you need to go in knowing very little about the plot. Therefore reviewing it is kinda difficult because I feel like I have so many different things I want to talk about, but also don't want to give away too much for new readers.

So I'll generally talk about the things I loved... I loved the underlying sense of terror and dread throughout the majority of this book. It takes a certain kind of talent to be able to create such an atmosphere for so long. And the parts that were meant to be scary...they were freakin' scary. I didn't like reading this one too close to bedtime as it definitely unsettled me, particularly the knocking on the doors. As I was saying to Abbie, this is something that terrifies me. My boyfriend will often hide on me and start knocking gently on walls or doors and it just freaks me the hell out. As well as that, I love how Jackson comes from the old school of horror - she doesn't need gore and guts, and she doesn't need to be "shocking" in order to create a reaction. Sometimes the old, simple ways of scaring people is the best. Jackson is clearly a master of this. And the ending? Perfect. PERFECT. Executed brilliantly! One of those endings you truly won't forget.

As for the characters, I felt like I wanted to punch quite a lot of them, particularly Theodora and Mrs Montague. Eleanor also started to grind on my nerves at times... That's one of my very minor complaints about this book - I didn't LOVE any of the characters or vouch for them, if anything I was rooting for Hill House itself. The descriptions of Hill House were stunning, chilling, unnerving... I could perfectly picture it in my head. Hill House is the real MVP (or building?) of this tale.

Overall, I really loved this book and would highly recommend it to fans of all things horror. I can see why King is such a huge fan. This one gets 4 stars out of 5 from me!

Johann
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1 comment :

  1. Thats a strange and very long surname ��

    ReplyDelete

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