The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Published March 7, 2019

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Book info

  • Title The Haunting of Hill House
  • Author Shirley Jackson
  • Year 1959
  • Genres Horror, Gothic, Mystery, Paranormal

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.


I’m sure I’m not alone in picking this book up after enjoying the Netflix adaptation, and I’m also sure I’m not alone in being surprised how different the story was to the visual feast. It’s a completely different set up, not a family at all but a disparate set of people drawn together in curiosity about the supposed hauntings of said Hill House.

It’s a short piece, and if you’re looking for big shocks or drawn out horror, you’ll be disappointed, but I really enjoyed how the story slowly ramped up the tension and the slow creep of madness until suddenly you realise that horrors are happening and you hadn’t even noticed.

I felt like it could have done with one or two more incidents to really make it feel as though the people were scared, and there’s a distinct lack of character definition for all but Eleanor, but still, it’s a good short novel and I’m not surprised it inspired such a good TV show as well.

Rating: 4 / 5

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