Since I had seen the original movie (the b/w version of The Haunting), I was able to visualize the characters based on that. But I don't think the book alone would have brought the images as much to life. For example the first manifestation of the pounding on the door was extremely vivid in the movie, but I didn't get the same sense from reading the book.
This book was originally titled as "The Haunting of Hill House," and written in 1959. A professor and three others stay in this haunted house to study the psychic phenomena within the house. Creepy, dark, and the standard of all haunted house stories. Highly recommended!
With all the hype I was expecting a book that would give me chills. While it was an interesting (if quick) read, I didn't think it was scary at all. This is one of the very few times that I have actually preferred a movie version to the book itself.
I have not been this scared reading a book since I read The Shining three years ago. Excellent story, with interesting characters, Shirley Jackson writes so well, and her descriptions are so eerie. This is really a classic.
I decided to read this novel because I love Shirley Jackson's short stories, and I was just as happy with this book. Jackson did a great job at creating subtle, yet effective, suspense. If you like psychological thrillers and excellent writing, you'll love this book. In a society where the art of story telling is being replaced by movie making, this is still a classic. I enjoyed this much more than the movie.
My favorite part of this book was Shirley's descriptions of the house. They were so intriguing, creative and creepy. Seeing the changes the characters were going through was so entertaining and interesting too. I really enjoyed reading it. The only thing I didn't like is that the ending is fairly predictable. I had it figured out around half-way through and that killed the suspense.
Still a great, well-written read though. I have never seen the movie so I couldn't compare it to that.
There were a few times when I had to turn the lights on listening to this one. The 1964 movie The Haunting actually follows pretty close to the book. The best part was you never "saw" what was haunting Hill House and I think that made it 100% more creepy.
It's a literary crime that this book doesn't receive the credit and recognition it deserves. Shirley Jackson was a true literary genius when it came to the subtle scare, and to taking the reader to a new boundry of fear. This book weaves psychological horror and supernatural horror as perfectly as a Reese cup. By the end of the book, you're ready to turn to the front, and begin reading it again.
Four people team up to spend a summer in Hill House, a known haunted house that the rest of the townsfolk avoid after dark. Lots of interesting paranormal events happen and one member of the group feels especially drawn to the Hill House. I've read this book several times and each time I get scared reading it--a testament to how well this book was written. This is simply the best haunted house story I've ever read, and I read a lot. Stephen King also recommends this book!
By the tingling of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. Shirley Jackson is a master of the macabre: she can give Ray Bradbury a run for the money any day, except that her prose is beautiful and refreshing. A professor hires three cohorts to spend the summer with him in a haunted house researching the supernatural. Spooky? Yes! Spirits? Of course! Who ya gonna call? Enter Mrs. Professor, a maven of transmogrification and existential transcendentalism. Look for an unexpected ending, but dont look for the flash and dash of the movie; theres only a vague comparison.
I was expecting this to be scary in the normal ghost story sense. It wasn't. It was scary because it was always just a feeling. That feeling you get that something is there just at the corner of your vision or a thought that could be just imagination...or is it? Very quick and enjoyable read..especially now for Halloween time.
The first horror book I enjoyed reading was a classic: Wuthering Heights. While I hated Heathcliff throughout I loved the writing and read avidly to the very end. Haunting is just as exciting, a thrilling horror novel that keeps you on the edge of your chair until it spirals to the end. At that point you are fairly certain that one character will not survive. Whether others do or not is debatable at this point.
The characters are Eleanor, Luke, Theo (for Theodora), and Dr. Montague. Montague has heard much about this house and wants to study it but with an accompanying group of people to help him view the effects of the house. He has seemingly screened the group carefully yet these individuals are more interested in self-preservation except perhaps for Theo. I found myself liking, detesting, pitying and wanting to help Eleanor who seems to be the victim that the house wants to ensnare.
Jackson builds the horror with sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph, and scene after scene. While it is subtle the horror keeps rising. The writing is superb and the introduction by Stephen King clearly demonstrates his admiration of this writer throughout the many pages he devotes his analysis of the book.
I advise that you do not read that introduction if you have this edition as it gives too much information about what happens during the telling. Save that enjoyment until you have read the novel. Both are well done! I found tale most entertaining and exciting to read. All the horror exists in the mind or does it?
This is a slim volume (the version I have is 246 pages) so I was able to read it in a couple days. A time period is not referenced in this book so it took a while for me to finally get some idea of when this occurred. Eleanor, the main character, co-owns a car so I assumed this was set in more "modern" times (1950s or later). It wasn't until after Eleanor arrived at the home and was talking with someone (I believe Dr. Montague) that I was able to figure out that the time period was the early 1900s--Dr. Montague mentioned that someone had left the house on a horse about 18 years earlier and was killed when a tree fell on him (or some such thing). So I figured the book was perhaps set in the 1920s or 1930s when cars were becoming more common. The writing style (dialogue) also seemed awkward. I wondered if the author was purposely trying to write that way to evoke a certain period (Gothic).
I am not normally a reader of horror books but added this to my book list after someone recommended it. I didn't find this book scary at all. While reading the parts about the doors being banged on, etc., I wasn't scared--thought perhaps written form didn't do it justice and that it might be scary as a movie (I have since found out that it was made into a movie in the 1960s). People who like this book (Amazon reviews) suggest that perhaps those who dislike it prefer slasher-type horror so Hill House isn't graphic enough to be scary. I don't watch slasher movies so that doesn't apply to me. I just didn't find the "haunting" incidents scary.
Theodora and Eleanor (the main character) are simplistic and childish--they really like one another and then they can't stand one another and then they go back to liking one another, disliking (you get the picture). The back cover describes Theodora as Dr. Montague's assistant but (as an Amazon reviewer noted) nowhere in the book is she described as his assistant nor does she do anything that would imply she was. When the scary events occur, the characters (for the most part) don't seem all that bothered--they are often laughing and acting silly shortly thereafter. It occurred to me that perhaps that behavior was a coping mechanism. Toward the end I started to wonder if some of the events were figments of Eleanor's imagination (and that question is not answered in the book).
Also, there doesn't appear to be any reason why the house is supposedly haunted. From my limited knowledge of haunted places, they are haunted because someone died there or the building is atop a graveyard, etc.
Amazon reviewers who gave this book one or two stars said they really enjoyed other books (and found them very scary) of the author so I may read some other works by Shirley Jackson. Perhaps I'll try to find the 1960s movie based on this book.
"Dr. Montague is a scholar of the occult, looking for evidence of haunting. He has recruited three volunteers to spend a summer investigating the paranormal phenomena at Hill House. Only Eleanor, a lonely young women all too well acquainted with poltergeists, strikes a peculiar affinity with Hill House, one that may well prove dangerous..."