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The Haunting of Hill House | [Shirley Jackson]

The Haunting of Hill House

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (265 )
5 star
 (86)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.7 (227 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (222 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    anmaree bendigo, Australia 02-20-11
    anmaree bendigo, Australia 02-20-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
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    "Well written story that captures the imagination."

    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!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Hanover, IN, United States 11-04-10
    Mark Hanover, IN, United States 11-04-10 Member Since 2010

    Markus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb Reading of Horror Classic"

    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.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. McCurdy PA 02-16-13
    B. McCurdy PA 02-16-13 Member Since 2013

    toddany

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "Best narrator I've listened to to date"
    Would you listen to The Haunting of Hill House again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Haunting of Hill House?

    The ending....although I won't say anything more to spoil it


    Which character – as performed by Bernadette Dunne – was your favorite?

    I enjoyed her performance for all the characters. She did an amazing job distinguishing them.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutly. I was highly disappointed when I would arrive at my destinantion and have to turn off the book.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Old Man Parker Kailua-Kona, HI, United States 04-04-13
    Old Man Parker Kailua-Kona, HI, United States 04-04-13 Member Since 2009

    Me am Pop-Surrealist Tiki-Artist living and making Art on the active volcanic "Big Island" of Hawaii. Aloha.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    62
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    "Perhaps the best haunted house tale of all time."
    Where does The Haunting of Hill House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of my favorites.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well, hard to say, Elie, who you see much of the story through is going mad, so is not all times very likable, I think the Dr. who put together the experiment is interesting, the sexy woman psychic is fun, the idle rich boy is not very deep...perhaps the house itself is the strangest character.


    Have you listened to any of Bernadette Dunne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    She has a great voice with depth and texture, wonderful for a ghost story, a crime drama, or a tale of terror.


    If you could rename The Haunting of Hill House, what would you call it?

    That's a hard one. "The Haunting of Hill House" is a classic title which sounds so right. It chills with it's mere words. Perhaps a second book could be called "The Hunger of Hill House"?


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of the all time great "Haunted House" stories. It set the bench mark for most every haunted house that has come after. If you love the horror genre, you MUST listen to this book. It's a classic.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    1/2DHsquared Langley, BC, Canada 01-31-13
    1/2DHsquared Langley, BC, Canada 01-31-13 Member Since 2010

    hale_and_hardy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Was she crazy or did it happen?"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Chesterton, IN, United States 05-06-13
    Ellen Chesterton, IN, United States 05-06-13 Member Since 2008

    I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I know it's a classic, but......."

    Older books sometimes suffer from the information available at the time. This one does rather badly. The characters are so strange in this book. They go from being terrified of something quite unspecific to being jovially numb. It's quite unclear whether they are haunted or psychological unwell. In ways that don't make sense to any psychology I've studied. It neither ran true to the characters or the nature of hauntings. I found it very hard to finish and unsatisfying when I did.
    Even when we have a book written in a time when we don't have a good idea clinically what is wrong with someone, I do expect good writing to supply a reasonable description. This rings sadly false.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 01-09-11
    Flavius Morro Bay, CA, United States 01-09-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Worthwhile and Compelling"

    I'm glad I finally got around to reading THOHH. The book is well-written (although the author's reliance on adverbs in dialogue attribution) and for the most part engaging, although it began to drag heavily toward the end.
    Also, the novel is a half-century old, but somehow feels much older. Jackson's writing style does not feel particularly dated, but the dialogue and situations do.
    The novel feels overlong and ultimately underwhelming, but Jackson's skillful writing and Bernadette Dunne's narration make it a worthwhile experience.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caitlin PROVIDENCE, RI, United States 07-10-12
    Caitlin PROVIDENCE, RI, United States 07-10-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Classic, With Good Reason"
    What made the experience of listening to The Haunting of Hill House the most enjoyable?

    The brilliant prose.


    What other book might you compare The Haunting of Hill House to and why?

    Mark Z. Danielewski's HOUSE OF LEAVES & Caitlin R. Kiernan's THE RED TREE


    Which character – as performed by Bernadette Dunne – was your favorite?

    Theo


    Who was the most memorable character of The Haunting of Hill House and why?

    Elenore, for her psychological struggles.


    Any additional comments?

    Just a brilliant, beautiful book. If one hundredth of contemporary dark fantasy were this good, we'd be fortunate indeed.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Fountain Valley, CA, United States 03-29-13
    Donna Fountain Valley, CA, United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2011

    eclectic reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a waste of a credit!"

    I don't get the 5 star ratings. I'm sorry, but this was really bad. This was not scary. creepy or even interesting. The characters were weak, unlikable and downright stupid. Who brings a gun to a house full of spirits? What good would that do? There are much better haunted house stories out there.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lacy WAXAHACHIE, TX, United States 06-01-14
    Lacy WAXAHACHIE, TX, United States 06-01-14 Member Since 2012

    I am a school counselor that loves horror, fantasy, autobiographies, self-help, and Christian genres. I am a BIG bookworm! Reading is life!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Weird Story that I Could Not Get Into"
    Would you try another book from Shirley Jackson and/or Bernadette Dunne?

    Probably not..


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have put more paranormal action into it because it was so blah.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    The book is a movie and I have seen it! I have to say that it is way better!


    Any additional comments?

    *******SPOILER ALERT*******
    I was excited about reading this book because I assumed it was similarly based off of the movie, "The Haunting" (1999). Unfortunately, only a few details were the same. I had a difficult time getting into the story and following the manic thought process of Eleanor. She is a very awkward, strange person with many insecurities and a touch of disassociation. You feel so much pity for her because she is so weak and has never had a life since she had placed the care of her mother at the very center of hers. When her mother passes, she gets into an argument with her sister on who she own the apartment their mother lived in and who she have the car. This is similar to or parallels the feud between the Crain sisters of Hill House. Eleanor is invited to come to Hill House to take part in a paranormal investigation into the house. She steals the car to come and the author goes to great lengths to describe in much detail her journey to Hill House. She is greeted by the caretaker and his wife and they make sure to warn her that she does not want to stay there. The author goes into great lengths again to describe the evilness that is Hill House. Eventually, she meets Dr. Montague, Theo, & Luke who will be staying with her in the house. Not much really happens. I thought there would be more crazy stuff happen like stuff flying through the room or ghosts materializing, but many there was a lot of banging on doors. Basically, Dr. Montague's wife comes with this friend of hers, Arthur, and starts to stir up stuff in the house. Then, Eleanor goes crazy and they make her leave...she runs into a tree and I guess kill herself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 23 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Stephen
    London, United Kingdom
    1/9/11
    Overall
    "Stunning"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Beccameriel
    London, United Kingdom
    10/31/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Adele
    Strusshamn, Norway
    11/6/12
    Overall
    "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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Aaron
    MELTON MOWBRAY, United Kingdom
    3/26/13
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Aleksandra
    Warsaw, Poland
    5/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Tim
    Wisborough green, United Kingdom
    7/28/12
    Overall
    "Classic Ghost Yarn"

    Hill house is a good solid, well written, if a bit rambling spooky classic tale..The narrator is good and performs all the parts well...Its not a romping good tale, it gently strolls along and does not really deliver any scares or shivers, it is more a study of the changing relationships of the characters.
    Not sure I would use a credit for it given the option again....
    Before you download this one look at the Woman in Black, same sort of thing but with a bit more bang for your buck.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • jeremy
    Heanor, United Kingdom
    3/30/13
    Overall
    "I wouldn't bother..."

    Certainly not scary, plot rambling ,but worst of all the characters are entirely unbelievable.

    If you are after a ghost story, there are plenty of better ones out there.



    I'd advise steering clear of this one.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
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