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The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Shirley Jackson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (610 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The best-known of Shirley Jackson's novels, and the inspiration for writers such as Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, The Haunting of Hill House is a chilling story of the power of fear.



'Shirley Jackson's stories are among the most terrifying ever written' Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch and The Secret History



Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely assistant; Luke, the future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers - and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. Adapted into a film, The Haunting, starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson, The Haunting of Hill House is a powerful work of slow-burning psychological horror.



Shirley Jackson's was born in California in 1916. When her short story The Lottery was first published in the New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent her hate mail; it has since become one of the most iconic American stories of all time. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, was published in the same year and was followed by five more: Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece. Shirley Jackson died in her sleep at the age of 48.



If you enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House, you might like Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.



'An amazing writer ... If you haven't read her you have missed out on something marvellous' Neil Gaiman



'As nearly perfect a haunted-house tale as I have ever read' Stephen King



'The world of Shirley Jackson is eerie and unforgettable' A. M. Homes



'Shirley Jackson is one of those highly idiosyncratic, inimitable writers...whose work exerts an enduring spell' Joyce Carol Oates



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

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 1082 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RUA4QQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,919 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
158 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of two books which have genuinely scared me 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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105 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even the words on the pages are haunted 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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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful-nothing like the remake! 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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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JACKSON'S CLASSIC WITCH'S BREW 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Cool Stuff
Published 9 hours ago by William P.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Classic horror story. Main idea - is the house haunted or is Eleanor's mind insane!
Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it then
The old standard, I loved it then, love it now.
Published 7 days ago by Alexian
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Jackson's Best, Shirley, we Miss You!
the BEST psychological thriller ever written. your interest will be held throughout the book and you will read it on a dark and stormy night in order to truly experience the... Read more
Published 12 days ago by panda princess
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Nothing what I expected, could not get into it.
Published 15 days ago by Annamaybell
4.0 out of 5 stars A Suspensful Supernatural Tale
What is Hill House exactly. It's a classic tale of suspense about an old house, evil and spooky. Many strange and cold things happen there.
Published 19 days ago by VIMHP
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary and Awesome
Delightfully scary. The only fiction book I've actually finished since the summer because most books lose my interest about 1/3 of the way through. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Ash
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine read - who can sleep alone on a stormy night after reading 'The...
Jackson does a fine job of telling a story where the reader is never quite sure where their own "unsettled" feeling about the story originates. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Jeff A. Tipton
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunted
One of my all time favorite book. This is the story you don't want to read late at night. I kept feeling like someone was standing behind me. Read more
Published 24 days ago by C. Carson
3.0 out of 5 stars Not such a horror
This was fun to read as a kind of vintage tale from a few generations ago. It reminds me so much of the movie, Clue, with a group of people, previously unknown to each other,... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Darlene S. Wood
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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.

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Why can't we in the U. S. get this book?
Same here, heard this is best book to read for Halloween so I want to read scary/horror novel for this halloween with my new Kindle. Hope this will come out on Kindle sometime soon.
Oct 4, 2010 by J.S. |  See all 4 posts
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