Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I really wanted to like this story. I enjoy a good ghost story that is more on the psychologically spooky side (as opposed to the slasher, gory side), and thought this would fit the bill nicely. But the handling of the characters consistently got in the way of the atmosphere. The problems:
• None of the subjects participating in this expedition to the haunted house seemed to be serious about actually trying to discover its secrets. They moved in, experienced the strange phenomena, but afterwards never even discussed among themselves what had happened or even seemed terribly surprised or concerned. We were told they wrote copious notes, but they never seemed to go anywhere.
• The too-clever, ironic conversations felt contrived and out of place. Perhaps the wry humor was meant to be a sort of whistling-in-the-dark, but it didn't work for me.
• The crazy bangings and door slammings, voices and wall writings are all sensory events that are difficult to convey in writing with the impact they deserve. Perhaps the impact would have been heightened if the characters themselves had seemed to be more viscerally affected. But they all just got over it a few minutes later, looked for the brandy and made more jokes. I have seen the 1963 film version, and found it satisfyingly spooky, largely because the actors were able to convince me that they were scared themselves.
• I found Dr. Montague’s wife to be one of the single most irritating characters I have ever read. Worse, her nearly comical militant spiritualist crusade further weakened Dr. Montague’s already weak character, undermining any pretense of scientific authority he held.
I wish I could recommend this classic, but for me it did not live up to its billing.
For those who have only seen the original "the Haunting" (Hollywood film), the original story is much more about what is happening inside the mind of the main character. Julie Harris portrayed her very well, and her unbalanced mind came through in the film, but the book is able to better convey the mental issues that the character was dealing with, without being able to differentiate between reality and what was happening inside her own mind.
The story leaves you wondering what actually happened, and what was merely a reflection of the character's perceptions only.
narrator was good but ugh the story. Like if woody Allen wrote a haunted house story. Waspy white people make barbed jokes about each other while nothing relevant happens.
Not scary for a single minute. I was hoping for a good ghost story and instead got a boring set of characters sitting around eating and playing chess all the time. There wasn't much of a haunting at all. I would skip this audiobooks and listen to one of Joe Hills stories instead.
The narrator, Bernadette Dunne, is an excellent performer. Her voice brought each character alive and honestly, it was her performance that compelled me to keep going to the end of the book. At the time it was written I'm sure it was groundbreaking and I respect that. It conveys such horror and dread so quietly, so subtly. Yet throughout the whole book I felt irritated. The main characters are so narcissistic, immature and even mentally ill, I found it painful to spend time with them, listening to their thoughts and conversations. I'm glad I listened to know why it's so well known but I'll never go back to Hill House.
Horror? no. Haunting of hill house starts out as the beginnings of a horror story, and apart form a weird house with weird doors and staff, goes nowhere. The horror was the listening, not that the narration was bad, but the story could not engage me enough to pay attention. For others it might be a fine book, for me..... not
Baltimore book lover
No. Everything is told from one person's point of view and this person is very unreliable and flighty. You never really find out if what she describes is really happening. Some people like that ambiguity and it can be an interesting plot device but it can't be the entire plot.
The reader was good at doing both male and female voices.
It has been a move and I didn't see it.
This is a mediocre character study dressed up in a ghost story.
I was disappointed with the story, which is supposed to be a foundation of the haunted house genre. It wasn't scary at all, and it's repetitiveness was frustrating and boring. Narrator told the story well.