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The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143039989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143039983
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (556 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has unnerved readers since its original publication in 1959. A tale of subtle, psychological terror, it has earned its place as one of the significant haunted house stories of the ages.

Eleanor Vance has always been a loner--shy, vulnerable, and bitterly resentful of the 11 years she lost while nursing her dying mother. "She had spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words." Eleanor has always sensed that one day something big would happen, and one day it does. She receives an unusual invitation from Dr. John Montague, a man fascinated by "supernatural manifestations." He organizes a ghost watch, inviting people who have been touched by otherworldly events. A paranormal incident from Eleanor's childhood qualifies her to be a part of Montague's bizarre study--along with headstrong Theodora, his assistant, and Luke, a well-to-do aristocrat. They meet at Hill House--a notorious estate in New England.

Hill House is a foreboding structure of towers, buttresses, Gothic spires, gargoyles, strange angles, and rooms within rooms--a place "without kindness, never meant to be lived in...."

Although Eleanor's initial reaction is to flee, the house has a mesmerizing effect, and she begins to feel a strange kind of bliss that entices her to stay. Eleanor is a magnet for the supernatural--she hears deathly wails, feels terrible chills, and sees ghostly apparitions. Once again she feels isolated and alone--neither Theo nor Luke attract so much eerie company. But the physical horror of Hill House is always subtle; more disturbing is the emotional torment Eleanor endures. Intense, literary, and harrowing, The Haunting of Hill House belongs in the same dark league as Henry James's classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw. --Naomi Gesinger --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

Praise for Penguin Horror Classics:

“The new Penguin Horror editions, selected by Guillermo del Toro, feature some of the best art-direction (by Paul Buckley) I've seen in a cover in quite some time.” – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

"Each cover does a pretty spectacular job of evoking the mood of the title in bold, screenprint-style iconography." – Dan Solomon, Fast Company
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Shirley Jackson was born in San Francisco in 1919. She first received wide critical acclaim for her short story 'The Lottery', which was published in 1948. Her novels--which include The Sundial, The Bird's Nest, Hangsaman, The Road through the Wall, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House--are characterised by her use of realistic settings for tales that often involve elements of horror and the occult. Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages are her two works of nonfiction. Come Along With Me is a collection of stories, lectures, and part of the novel she was working on when she died in 1965.

Customer Reviews

I wanted to like this book, I wanted to be scared, but it just didn't happen.
A. Stevenson
Now it may have just been because I was reading it in the middle of the night, but for me this book is more frightening than any story I've ever read before.
RavenHive99
The Haunting of Hill House is recommended for anyone who loves a good, creepy, psychological ghost story.
My2Cents

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 153 people found the following review helpful By Schuyler V. Johnson VINE VOICE on February 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I saw "The Haunting", the movie version of the book when I was in high school and I remember, quite vividly, how much it scared me. What's so ironic, taken in the context of today's effects and fireworks shows, is that back then, in the early '60s, this movie never shows a monster...or anything else that would OBVIOUSLY frighten. The breathing doors and sounds in the hall were more than ample to illustrate fear. The book is much richer in detail and includes, especially, two scenes which I feel really should have been included in the movie. The first is when Eleanor and Theo take a stroll around the grounds of the house with Luke and Theo and Luke pair off and Eleanor thinks they are right behind her. They are some distance away, yet she senses them (or something) close by. The second is after an altercation one night Eleanor stalks out of the house and Dr. Marquay sends Theo after her to bring her back. The two of them are so wrapped up in their respective inner turmoil they fail to notice how far they've walked from the house(and at Night!) They notice, suddenly, that the landscape has become like a negative photograph, with light and dark reversed...they continue on and come upon a happy scene, in bright color, of a family having a picnic. The description of this made my hair stand on end. The horror is implied and erupts only occasionally but always with tremendous effect. This is truly a modern classic of the genre...the opening lines as memorable as "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" or "Call me Ishamel"..."Hill House, not sane, had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more...within, floors were firm, windows sensibly shut, and whatever walked there, walked alone." My suggestion...don't read this book alone, but read it!
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101 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Haunting of Hill House remains one of the most important horror novels of all time and certainly one of the most singular haunted house tales ever written. It is certainly worth mentioning that at no time do we or the characters actually see any sort of visible ghostly manifestation; the phenomena are limited to cold spots, spectral banging on the walls and doors, messages written on walls, and torn, blood-spewed clothing in one room. If Jackson had compelled Hugh Crain (the main who built Hill House) to pop out of the woodwork and say Boo!, this story would have been long forgotten. Still, it quite amazes me that Shirley Jackson has met with such critical success and eternal popularity; I say this only because her writing style is unique and rather off-the-wall. Truly, Jackson's writing itself is haunted, and she herself almost surely was in some manner. There is a degree of insanity in every page; the characters often engage in dialogue that is childish of a sort and certainly different from normal adult conversation. I would think such idiosyncratic writing would appeal only to those like myself who are different, somewhat kooky, outsiders looking at the real world through thick-paned glass that sometimes fogs over or plays tricks with our eyes depending on the angle in which the sun hits it or does not hit it.
Eleanor is an especially appealing character to me because I share many of her doubts and fears: I don't belong, what are people saying about me?, are people laughing at me behind my back?, why am I here and where am I going?, etc. No one rivals Jackson in the ability to paint a deeply moving, psychologically deep portrait of the tortured soul.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Ayisha Bhalli on January 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Shirley Jackson is truly the master of horror. She weaves a dark tale of loneliness, depression, sadness, obsession and fear. Most readers, who have seen the remake, seem to be impressed with special effects and cheesy plots. This story is chilling not because of the supernatural themes, but because of the dark recesses of human nature. People don't seem to realize that the ending (without giving too much away) depicts Eleanor's response towards her feelings of isolation and depression. Who knows if she did what she did because of a ghost or because she was truly mad? was she trying to stay in the only place that understood her or was the house trying to keep her? Please, don't base this literary masterpiece on a REALLY bad movie. read the book and decide WHO was in control-Eleanor or Hill House?
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Jarrod Kirkland on January 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is one of the most subtle yet disturbing ghost stories ever written. Deservedly a true classic of the genre and a fine piece of modern American literature, the genius of Jackson's writing is in her SUBTLETY. Generally I find that readers who don't like or understand the book don't realize that all the while they're under Jackson's spell. (it's a book many people need to read over again) This short novel is one of the RARE FEW which will LINGER in the psyche LONG after it's been read! In the previous reviews, approximately 90% of the readers who were "disappointed" felt there was SOMETHING unique about the book. Eleanor. Eleanor was never "normal" to begin with; in Hill House she was like a kid in a candy store! Unable to relate to people, the house becomes her lover and her best friend; they become as ONE. I have to admit that I would have liked the book to have been longer, but I suspect Jackson's sudden ending was her style of "shock". Shirley Jackson knew what she was doing; this book is a classic witch's brew of symbolism and, boy, does it prey in the hallways of the mind! Forget what the previous scoffers say: read this alone in bed on a stormy night and I GUARANTEE you'll agree that Jackson was a master of her craft!
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