Past the rusted gates and untrimmed hedges, Hill House broods and waits….
Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable noises and self-closing doors, but Hill House is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own.Shirley Jackson (1916–1965), a celebrated writer of horror, wrote such classic novels as We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Bird’s Nest, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery”. She has influenced such writers as Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Richard Matheson.
©1959 Shirley Jackson; renewed 1987 by Laurence Hyman, Barry Hyman, Sarah Webster, and Joanne Schnurer (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Makes your blood chill and your scalp prickle…Shirley Jackson is the master of the haunted tale.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Now widely regarded as the greatest haunted-house story ever written.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Shirley Jackson is unparalleled as a leader in the field of beautifully written, quiet, cumulative shudders.” (Dorothy Parker, Esquire)
Avid Reader and Listener.... enjoy classics, poetry, memoir. Teach College English.
I chose to listen to this book in order to pass the time while organizing and cleaning the kitchen. I remembered Ms. Jackson's stirring short story, "The Lottery" and hoped this would be just as intriguing. I used the book as an incentive to get done a job I did not want to do and it was treat was to listen to this book as I went about my task. This book has been on my list for a while, after learning that Ms. Jackson wrote in this genre. I don't read many supernatural thrillers but this one was a good one that wasn't too "freaky" that would leave me with nightmares. I would think that it sits solidly in the genre along with Henry James' Turn of the Screw and as well as Stephen King's The Shining. It some ways it reminded me of both. I'm sure that it was on the cutting edge, written in the 1950's when everything was to be happy and pleasant. I appreciated the solid description that helped build the scene in my mind without being overly descriptive and flowery. Her characterization is solid but not overwhelmingly vivid, except maybe for the Doctor's wife. She was maybe a bit too vivid. This "ghost" story sits adequately between the old and the new in the genre. I was adequately entertain without my intelligence being insulted. I look forward to reading other pieces from Ms. Jackson.
Dunne's performance of Jackson's novel is just about perfect. Her husky, flexible voice provides a consistent sense of character and tone. I have a book on writing horror fiction. The editors ran a poll of top horror/fantasy writers as to "best of" and Jackson's Haunting of Hill House came in first. It is on Stephen King's list of "ten best." It is a wonderfully-written novel that gets inside your head. As one reads this, one sees how huge an influence it was upon King, as several elements play powerfully into Carrie, Rose Red, and other works.
The book is written well and in detail, the narrator really portray's the characters very well giving each their own uniqueness, this makes it quite easy to imagine yourself in the book, which is what makes it so enjoyable!
This is a classic novel of terror, not horror -- it's more about the things that go bump in the night and set off disturbing and paranoid thoughts in people's minds. It's all psychological, no blood-and-guts violence. Still, this story (unlike some other of Jackson's works) doesn't really stand the test of time with respect to the characterizations and dialogue. I didn't like the supposedly witty banter that seemed to take up a lot of time and only made the characters seem superficial and uninteresting. I liked the opening and set up, and I liked the ending, but the middle of the story seemed too lightweight and unfocused.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I have heard about The Haunting of Hill House for years, but never read it. But it is on Charlaine Harris' list of favorite books so when Audible had it on sale, I picked it up. Since it is a bit of classic, I'm not sorry I listened to it and Bernadette Dunne's narration is so very good I can't consider it a total loss, but I am glad I didn't pay full price. There is very little action and I didn't find it very suspenseful either. The characters are reasonably interesting, but the only backstory you get in detail is for Eleanor who seems to be psychologically damaged and absolutely drowning in self pity. The more I knew about her, the less I wanted to know. There is some superb spooky mood setting, but any real suspense is undermined by an unbalanced central character who steals the show from anything paranormal or horrific.
I wouldn't, only because I've never been the type to read/listen to a book twice. It's nothing negative about the book itself.
The ending....although I won't say anything more to spoil it
I enjoyed her performance for all the characters. She did an amazing job distinguishing them.
Absolutly. I was highly disappointed when I would arrive at my destinantion and have to turn off the book.
1) More interesting, realistic, three-dimensional characters. 2) An engrossing, thrilling plot that builds and maintains momentum.
If this was her best work, no. If Jackson has more appealing books out there, maybe.
The narrator, Bernadette Dunne, was very good. It was the material that kept her performance from being great.
All four main characters. Eleanor, whose thoughts provide the bulk of the story, is whiny, wimpy, needy, back-biting and basically borderline nuts before she arrives at Hill House. Theodora vacillates from high to Iow moods and back so fast that my head was spinning from my efforts to keep up. Luke, apparent heir to the house, is bland and two-dimensional. Luke seems to exist only to provide not particularly clever quips and also to serve as an uninspiring potential love interest for the ladies. The professor is one big stereotype: jolly yet thoughtful, smart yet weirdly enslaved by his obsession with the occult. The creepy housekeeper and her grumpy groundsman husband have more going for them than the main characters. I was so bored and annoyed by the lack of progress in the plot and disliked the characters so much that I quit listening halfway through. Consequently, I missed reading about the professor's wife who, according to other reviewers, was a truly obnoxious character. Looks like I gave up on this book just in time.
All I can say is, thank goodness for Audible's return policy.
So after having finished the Haunting of Hill House I can safely say, for me personally, it was a snooze fest. Just boring scenario after boring scenario of verbal jousting and no real ghosts or scary things happening. An example of good Horror or sci-fi books that are my cup of tea would be Stephen King's It, or The Shining even, which in my opinion is just like THoHH, but much more gripping and intriguing. Dean Koontz Twilight Eyes. but this book, nah, was likely more of an older crowds cup of tea. Bring on the gore and violence for me! But the voice actor was clear and concise throughout, but even she did not much to nothing to add to the tale, mostly a drab word for word lecture rather than a story telling. I wasn't impressed, and this was on a top horror books of all time list. Needless to say, I won't be referencing that list again. O.o
Reading the other reviews enticed me into buying this book. What a letdown it was for me! I found the characters to be completely annoying and unbelievable, and the supposed "Horror" aspect missing entirely. I honestly don't know what the other reviewers were talking about with regard to this being the book that all other haunted house stories were based on. I listened to the entire book waiting for it to become interesting or shocking but instead was relieved when it was finally finished.
Didn't find this book to be even remotely frightening outside of the thought of meeting somebody in real life as annoying as Eleanor.
I knew nothing about this book other than it has a high-standing reputation. I wanted a 'ghost story' for Christmas. I listened to it lying in bed with no distractions and, boy, did I get my money's worth. The atmosphere and descriptions are powerful enough, but it is the psychological portrait of, and interaction between the characters which takes this book far beyond 'genre' into a 'classic'. Unsettling and scary because it insinuates itself into you, rather than frightening with shocks. And though her voice may be an acquired taste I thought that Bernadette Dunn's reading is extraordinary.
"Unsettling and spooky story excellently performed"
I like to listen to something spooky at Halloween and have wanted to read this for a while. What I like about this story is the fact that so much is left up to the reader to decide. The narrator is so obviously unreliable that it's never clear if we can trust a thing she says. Who has seen what? Is everyone in the house experiencing the same thing? Hill House itself has a strong presence as a character and even the dimensions and angles of the rooms seem to be inherently evil. I was reminded a bit of H.P. Lovecraft's non-Euclidean geometry in Dreams of the Witch House (one for the fans there).
If you've seen the truly dreadful film with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones, please rest assured that it bears almost no relation to this source material.
Bernadette Dunne is a great narrator who manages to portray the apparent malice of the house and really seems to get inside Eleanor's head.
"You are invited..."
Take a tour of Hill House, and experience the chilling, bizarre events it encloses!
Eleanor’s invitation to Hill House by Dr.Montague is one she most likely wouldn’t have accepted, had she been aware of its looming consequences, but longing for new adventure, and “borrowing” her sister’s car, she finds her way there. At the house, despite a gloomy welcome, she eventually starts to feel safe, and quickly makes new friends in the other guests. But all is not what it seems, and soon she is entwined in a web of otherworldly encounters. Despite looking terror in the eye, Eleanor seems eventually to overcome her fears inside Hill House…or does she?
I enjoyed how the story went from a classic ghost story to a deeper, darker, and more surreal twist of events. The narration to me seemed a little contrived in parts, but otherwise I thought it flowed well.
Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel is a perfect listen for a perfect, moody night, and will make you stay awake if you need to!
Tense but finally disappointing. Characters rather shallow and some characters completely unnecessary. Book kept you on edge for first half and then seemed fairly predictable
After reading lots of reviews saying how terrifying this book was, I was shocked when the end came as I was still waiting to be a little shook up. maybe scary in its day but I believe this type of horror is dead.
"Not bad, but has its drawbacks"
The story itself isn't too bad. It has a high-ranking place in ghost story lore so that's why I thought I'd give it a go.
It took me absolutely ages to get through it, purely because of two reasons:
1. The narrator, in my opinion, does the story no justice. Her voice for Eleanor sounds dreadful. I just can't describe how much her voice irks me.
2. The characters don't act or even talk like real people would in certain places. I think my main problem is the character of Eleanor.
But this is just my opinion. Other people have given it good reviews, so I think Haunting on Hill House really is one of those that you have to try for yourself.
The problem with the book is that although it has a good starting point and promising story, the characters and dialogues are completely unbelievable. Maybe it's because the book was written over 50 years ago, but now it just feels artificial.
Nonetheless there are a few twists and the ending is quite surprising.
The performance is quite good but not outstanding.
"More than just a ghost story."
Something to get your teeth into over multiple listens.
A little too much extra story line about the characters before getting to the main event.
Easy to listen to but a little dull at times.
A classic but not what i was expecting after seeing the old movie.
I don't want to be disrespectful but this book is not very good. Utterly rubbish, at least I thought so.
"Wanted to read after seeing stage show"
Enjoyed this novel, bit different from the stage show I saw at Liverpool Playhouse but still good. Absorbing psychological horror.. Just don't listen to close to bedtime as I'm convinced my dreams were more vivid and anxiety laden as a result!
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