The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This might not be a book to read late at night if you have an active imagination.
Have you ever been in an old house and felt some strange energy? The feeling of eyes on you while your back is turned? Of unexplained sounds, shadows, or smells? Older houses can have a sense of presence that isn't found in newer homes, whether it be from the residual energy of the lives lived in it over the years, or a collection of old items filled with memories. Welcome to Hill House, perfectly drawn with a turret, doors and windows that shut on their own, mazes of rooms, and an oppressive presence around every corner.
A classic story of psychological terror, the Haunting of Hill House tells the tale of an old mansion which holds many secrets. Supernatural researcher Dr. Montague rents Hill House in an attempt to prove, or disprove, the claims of a haunting. He invites a collection of people who have been rumored to have past experience with the supernatural, but only 2 join him: Eleanor Vance, a shy woman who has spent her life caring for her invalid mother until she passed away, and Theodora, a free-spirited, bohemian artist. They are all joined by Luke Sanderson, the heir to Hill House and who must be present as part of the terms of the lease.
Soon after arriving, Eleanor and company begin having unexplainable experiences. Whether or not all of these events are supernatural is left up to the reader to decide, but the circumstances seem to be centered around Eleanor, and the book is very much about her and her journey. Gothically dark and spooky, Jackson takes us on a ride full of twists and turns, and it all culminates is an ending that leaves you wondering, but is still strangely satisfying.
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