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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.

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    895
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    345
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Crystal
  • Bluefield, VA, United States
  • 02-11-14

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.

66 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

65 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • anmaree
  • bendigo, Australia
  • 02-20-11

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!

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Just okay

I really wanted to love this story but it just didn't keep my interest. Oh well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

The narrator was ok at reading this book. The story itself was rather boring and seemed endless. Parts of the story were hard to follow and the ending was flat.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Painfully slow and boring beyond belief!

I heard that this was supposed to be “one of the scariest books ever written” and a Netflix series was based on it. I started before Halloween expecting it be be a paranormal thriller. Wow, was I wrong.

Four and a half chapters in and she’s still describing them arriving at the house and meeting. By chapter 6-7, mild haunting story with no substance. Ridiculously slow story with nearly all character development. Nothing remotely scary! If I hear “Journeys end in lovers meeting” one more time, I think I’m going to throw up. Dumb ending for spending 7+ hr of nonsense. I could barely finish the last two chapters... painful.

I did enjoy the reader but the voices of Dr. Montague and Mrs. Dudley sound exactly the same... one is a man, the latter a woman. Not that it’s difficult to tell who’s who but I hoped they have slightly sound different “voices.”

Overall, very unimpressed. I started Stephen King’s Pet Sematary today and it’s fantastic. Wish I’d started it sooner instead of this waste of time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Buy if you have Insomnia

Oh my, what a complete disappointment. So boring. Characters so lame. Could even force myself to care about them. The ending was so silly but I didn't care so long as the silly thing ended!
DO NOT BUY THIS AWFUL BOOK!
Wish I could get a refund.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

I found the book tedious and lacked any of the suspense advertised. Perhaps I have been desensitized to the material after reading many of Stephen King’s works. The narrator was good, and brought the characters to life, but that is the only accolade I can bestow here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen
  • 01-09-11

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Beccameriel
  • 10-31-13

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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Adele
  • 11-06-12

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Swords and Spectres
  • 03-26-13

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-10-16

Canonical, but somewhat dated

This is a classic ghost story by a talented author, and the the way she evokes an atmosphere of dread is truly impressive. But however skilfully Jackson employs terror, rather than horror, they novel falls short of being "scary", and becomes simply interesting fit what it has to say about human nature under extreme duress. This is actually Jackson's speciality. Where the novel also excels is in characterization. The four principal characters are excellently drawn, with Theodora and, especially, Eleanor, possessed of such a rich inner life that they truly live. Even minor players such as Mrs Dudley, Mrs Montague, and Arthur, transcend their function as caricatures and become believable.

But to me this ends up feeling more like a story about mental illnesses than the supernatural.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-19-19

Erm....

I little weak I think. A little bit of a let down in terms of what I was expecting.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. S. Boyd
  • 01-16-19

7 hours of nothing

After watching the TV adaptation of the book, I was really Looking forward to hearing the book. Unfortunately apart from a few characters, the book and tv series are not in any way related. The book is slow and, well, nothing actually happens. I’d definitely not recommend it. Bernadette tried her best to inject some interest but ultimately there was none.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Coffee Black
  • 01-05-19

Is this the worst book of all time?

I got this audio based on the fact that I loved the series on Netflix. However I’ve been left wondering ‘how could such and interesting and scary show come out of such a slow, dull and painfully boring book?’
There was literally one moment that even came near to being scary 4 hours into the book.

I’ve rated the narration as 3 stars but that could be very harsh or could likewise be very generous.. the fact is that I don’t actually know whether this awful story was made worse by the performance or if the performance actual salvaged some marks for the story. My gut is telling me that she did a good job. The characters were distinctive enough anyway.

In conclusion, don’t even bother with this book ESPECIALLY if your main reason for considering it is because you liked the show on Netflix.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • R O N UMUNNA
  • 01-01-19

Fantastic novel and fantastic narration

I had always known about the Haunting of Hill House however, it was its namesake show on Netflix brought me here. Stephen King was right-it is brilliant! I love the chilling reliance on terror as opposed to horror. The narration by Bernadette Dunne is simply fantastic. She captures the essence of each character so well.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-27-18

6/10

could have gone further with the mystery of the house . stopped to early with the basement, library , coloured rooms

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • JD
  • 06-28-17

Scary?

Was told this was the pinnacle of horror stories. Given its age I can forgive some influence of nostalgia from other reviewers, but not every, nor entertaining. The reader was SUPERB.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 06-15-17

Aged Classic

Although certainly dated, The Haunting of Hill House is a thoroughly fantastic piece. Some sections of description - and this may simply be personal interpretation - display a certain lacking and muddled quality.
That aside however, the performance is an overall unexpectedly great one and the story itself is intriguing and drives the listener deeper.
Certainly I will listen to The Haunting of Hill House again in the future.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-29-18

Chilling

I'm not usually a big horror fan but this book had me captivated beginning to end. Jackson's picturesque descriptions with Dunne's expressive narration was incredible. The book owes a lot of its power to the fantastic characters. A classic.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Katie
  • 11-28-18

Meh

I am not a fan. Was not interesting or exciting, and not even remotely scary.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-11-18

Excellent!!

Loved the subtle creation of uncertainty throughout the story. The great narration makes for a visceral experience.