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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

3.6 (718 )
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3.9 (632 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mark 11-04-10
    Mark 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.

    32 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crystal Bluefield, VA, United States 02-11-14
    Crystal Bluefield, VA, United States 02-11-14 Member Since 2008

    Avid Reader and Listener.... enjoy classics, poetry, memoir. Teach College English.

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    "Well written horror tale"

    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.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anmaree bendigo, Australia 02-20-11
    anmaree bendigo, Australia 02-20-11
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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!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pita Miami 08-06-14
    Pita Miami 08-06-14 Member Since 2013

    Life long compulsive reader & lover of recorded books

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Be prepared to be scared; classic horror tale"
    Where does The Haunting of Hill House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Within the horror genre this is one of the best books I have listened to. The movie based on the book is excellent too. This is psychological horror at its best...there are no gory creatures or slashers...just a group of people in an old house treating each other in a very civil way.


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

    The narrator was excellent.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this classic.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. McCurdy 02-16-13
    B. McCurdy 02-16-13

    toddany

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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.


    13 of 14 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
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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.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    1/2DHsquared 01-31-13 Member Since 2010

    hale_and_hardy

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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.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caitlin 07-10-12
    Caitlin 07-10-12 Member Since 2010
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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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tango Texas 08-08-14
    Tango Texas 08-08-14

    Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Pity Party Ends Badly"

    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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 09-23-14
    Calliope 09-23-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a classic that isn't as terrorizing as I'd hoped"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 58 results PREVIOUS126NEXT
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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.

    7 of 7 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.

    3 of 3 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!

    3 of 3 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 6 people found this review helpful
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