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July Books 18) The Haunting of Hill House

18) The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson

Picked this up at P-Con, partly inspired by my memory of Jackson's famous short story "The Lottery", and was prodded into reading it by jemck's write-up. It was also on the women writers meme that was going round a few months back. Abigail Nussbaum didn't like it.

Anyway, I loved it. Not in fact a particularly short book (246 pages in my edition) but a real page-turner. Written and set in 1959. Professor invites people to spend the summer in a suppsoedly haunted house with him. The viewpoint character, Eleanor Vance, is obviously somehow affected by the environment, much more so than the other two guests, a young man who is related to the house's owners and a woman who is taking a break from her (we assume) girlfriend (though her lover's gender is never specified. The caretakers, and the professor's wife who arrives with entourage halfway through, make up the numbers.

The pace is kept up very well throughout. Horror isn't really my thing unless it's done well, and this certainly is.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 22nd, 2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, rewatched that recently. Genuinely unsettling stuff.
Jul. 22nd, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
Ooh, neat. This is sitting right on top of my to-read pile, waiting to be picked up later this evening.
Jul. 22nd, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
If you haven't read _We Have Always Lived In The Castle_, do.
Jul. 23rd, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
Have you ever seen the film adaptation of that? It is complete genius. The DVD has original trailers for it, which include a pitch to antiques lovers, as all the (hideous) furniture in the house was apparently vintage stuff.
Jul. 23rd, 2006 10:13 pm (UTC)
That's the film adaptation of The Haunting Of Hill House, obv.
Jul. 25th, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC)
Shirley Jackson is good with the unheimlich, almost frighteningly so.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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