The Haunting of Hill House (book) by Shirley Jackson – Review

The Haunting of Hill House is the fifth, and unfortunately penultimate, novel by Shirley Jackson published far back in 1959. The novel is considered one of the best Gothic novels of the twentieth century and is coming back in the spotlight thanks to the homonymous TV series recently released on Netflix. Here is the review

To describe The Haunting of Hill House there is only one word: MASTERPIECE!

In my humble opinion, in The Haunting of Hill House, Jackson has a brilliant intuition, especially for the genre: to make protagonists more important than the events and the setting.

The protagonist of this novel is Eleanor, a girl who has lived almost all her life to assist her sick mother. One day Eleanor gave up everything to go to Hill House, because she was invited by Professor Montague. Montague is a paranormal investigator and believes that Hill House is a cursed and haunted house, so he decides to rent the house for a summer and invites some people to help him. Of these, only Eleanor and Theodora respond. Along with the three of them, however, there is also Luke, the future heir of Hill House, who was forced to stay there by the owner, his aunt, who does not want to leave the house at the mercy of strangers.

Of course, the four start to see and hear strange things in this house, things that are very scary, but Jackson does not stop there, and does not want to. Hill House and what moves inside are just a background that makes everything even scarier.

The terror, more than the horror, is built very slowly and focuses on the characters. Jackson decides to dig into the minds of its protagonists in order to make us feel strong emotions, obviously of fear. Eleanor is perfectly outlined, above all her unhappiness and her paranoia.

With Theodora creates a morbid bond, similar to that already seen in “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”, Eleanor begins to have strange behaviors, and the phenomena that take place are always obscure and you do not understand if they really happened or not. The reader seems to lose touch with reality.

Montague is the calm type, but too much. He wants to discover the existence of the paranormal, but at the same time it seems too rational and so calm as to be scary. Theodora seems jealous of Eleanor, sometimes overly. Luke, however, is the gentleman who shows courage and fear at the same time and seems interested in Theodora, also in a morbid way.

But the biggest highlight is the final. An open final, which leaves space for multiple interpretations but that gives us the confirmation of something: Hill House is cursed.

I’ve already talked about Jackson’s prose and style, but I’ll do it again and I’ll do it using the words of Stephen King: she says all without saying anything. Jackson is direct, she can describe a situation to perfection in a few lines, the characters in a nutshell and fear in a few thoughts.

Hill House’s Nightmare is an extraordinary novel, not only in its genre, but in literature in general. Read it, it deserves a lot.

Rating: 92/100

I leave the amazon link of the novel. I remind you that I am an Amazon affiliate, so every time a purchase is made through a link, I am given a small percentage without any price increase for the buyer. If you want to buy the novel, open the link and buy everything in that session, ie without closing the page, or put it in the cart and buy it within ninety days. Thanks a lot.

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The review ends here, but now it’s your turn. Have you read The Hill House nightmare? Did you like it? Will you read it? Are you seeing the Netflix series? Comment! I thank you for reading, if you liked the review, share and follow me either by e-mail or on Twitter or Facebook. Hello and see you next time.

I leave here my review of “We Have Always Lived in The Castle”: