Review of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I can’t remember the last time I read a book that was even remotely gothic horror, was it Great Expectations or maybe it was that chapter in Harry Potter, either way it has been years…

The Haunting of Hill House has everything you need to know in the title, whether this is a good thing or not is entirely up to you to decide but it definitely doesn’t leave room for mystery.
Being an absolute novice in the horror genre I have nothing to compare this book to, so forgive me if you have a strong opposing opinion on this book or just anything I’ve said but I have warned you. My bit is done.

We’ll start at the beginning because the beginning was something I really enjoyed reading. A third person narrative is always somewhat healthier. While you can immerse yourself in the book there is still distance from the character/s. You don’t become attached. Jackson sort of throws everything at you in the beginning of the book but as I write this it’s dawning on me that she does that all the way through.

You are first thrown into this scene of the house, a dark and uninviting place and then thrown into the life of Dr Montague from there you’re just thrown into the life of Eleanor and so on from one character to another. This gives the story a fast pace which is certainly a good start but also it doesn’t dwell on any one thing, (for a page or so yes, on Eleanor as she is the main character here around which the story focuses) every piece of information that is given is vital and this creates the effect that the story is progressing fast and action will soon take place.

When the characters are finally together there are times when I felt like I was reading a child’s book, the language becomes a bit more basic and the way the two characters Eleanor and Theodora communicate reminded me of children. I had to remind myself that they are much older and convince myself that adults sometimes talk like this.

As for the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it, tucked into bed with a dim light and telling myself that my house is not evil. No seriously, it was a chilling story in my opinion, (because i haven’t read that many chilling stories I guess) yes i’m a lightweight and yes, I will be improving this. Jackson’s narrative technique is unique and although the end was a bit confusing it still made me shudder. If you do happen to read the book, i’m going to be honest and say I’m actually glad it ended the way it did… Brutal but honest. My overall rating would be 4 stars.


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