The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House

Book - 2006
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The greatest haunted house story ever written, the inspiration for a 10-part Netflix series directed by Mike Flanagan and starring Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, and Timothy Hutton

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers--and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2006
ISBN: 9780143039983
Characteristics: xxii, 182 p. ; 20 cm
Call Number: JACKSON, S


From Library Staff

The ultimate haunted house story that is a tale of subtle psychological terror, where four strangers discover the folly of staying in a house that was born bad.

This book has unnerved readers since its publication in 1959. It is a tale of subtle, psychological terror, and is considered one of the greatest haunted house stories ever written.

List - Classic Chills
DCLadults Aug 01, 2019

This terrifying novel has been called the greatest haunted house story ever written and is the inspiration for movies, a play, and now a Netflix television series.

List - 10 Reads Made for TV
DCLadults Sep 12, 2018

Just in time for Halloween, Netflix is debuting the TV series on October 12 that is based on this classic horror novel. You'll want to sleep with the lights on.

SaraLovesBooks Oct 12, 2016

This book is an utterly sublime work of psychological terror. Jackson's prose, from its perfect first paragraph to its unsettling ending, keeps the reader off balance, as unsure of what is going on as the characters. It is a work of tight suspense, with an off-kilter sense of setting. This book i... Read More »

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Apr 16, 2021

The audiobook with Bernadette Dunne is fantastic.

Mar 03, 2021

This book felt very uneven to me. There should have been better flow, balance, plot structure, etc.

Was it creepy? Yes, a bit in a few parts.

It started out with a long, slow section that was a set-up for the upcoming story. That part was too long, nothing much happening. Once the four people are gathered at Hill House to begin their stay & their study/exploration of weird events, you would think it would move along better. Mostly, it doesn't. It is repetitively dull for multiple days in a row -- same daytime set-up, something creepy at night after dark. It's not always clear what is happening for real vs. what may be imagined. That's generally ok in a scary story, but the effect here was... just completely uneven. The characters weren't very likeable & they weren't really fleshed out as to their backgrounds, their motivations, their thoughts. Maybe 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through, two new characters appear & are tossed into the group. For me, their appearance was a jarring interruption. (Which should have been welcome as I wasn't enamored of the book anyway, but they are not any more likeable than the others & their appearance doesn't further the plot.) And while creepy & weird things did happen, there's never really any exploration of what those things were or why they might be happening. The group never really addressed those things, which was supposedly their purpose for being there. As a reader, I felt like I was left hanging.

I guess, ultimately, it showed that one character was indeed affected by the house (or did the character cause the house to react instead?), going around the bend of sanity in about a week's time. But, again, there are no real answers, nor any real explorations of possibilities. Just random characters, a few creepy events, then someone flirting with insanity.

There was the possibility of a great story with some good bones, but it was wasted by not developing the characters or the plot. What comes to mind repeatedly for me is that it is lumpy & unpolished. That's a shame.

Dec 29, 2020

Adapted for the stage and film, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson just keeps on giving. This is the book that defined an entire genre.

Oct 20, 2020

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is the perfect spooky October book for those looking for a quick and captivating read. Following a group of adults who spend a little over a week at the infamous Hill House, Shirley Jackson’s novel introduces us to a house plagued by its history, death, and the impact it leaves on the visitors we become so familiar with. What I liked best about this book is that it was descriptive in the horror aspect, yet not too scary that I couldn't sleep after reading! Shirley Jackson’s novel inspired a chilling Netflix series of the same name, which I personally couldn’t continue watching due to the fear I felt after the first episode. The Haunting of Hill House novel was quite the opposite; scary enough to keep you interested and engaged, but not enough to really petrify you. The Haunting of Hill House is perfect for anyone too scared to see the horror, but all well in reading it! 5/5 stars, coming from someone who usually does not like horror!
@readingmouse of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

RyanR_KCMO Oct 13, 2020

Shirley Jackson excellently executes a character-driven narrative hidden behind a supernatural frame. Jackson does such a good job of misplacing your focus and getting your guard down while at the same time painting such a beautiful scene. It is easy to lose yourself in this tale. This was a perfect October read.

Jul 10, 2020

I've found this novel charming, hilarious, scary and addictive. The conversations are so clever. It's a book I feel immersed in like I'm watching more than reading. Also very short and satisfying I feel like I'm going to need some more Shirley Jackson sooner than later

Jun 23, 2020

The novel by Shirley Jackson that was adapted to the stage by F. Andrew Leslie. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is a spooky tale. The star of this story is a house with a sordid past. When a young woman (Eleanor) who's "sensitive" where psychic matters are concerned takes up residence as part of an investigation into strange occurrences at the residence, the old place just gets stranger. By novel's end, she's showing symptoms of bi-polarity.

May 31, 2020

Nice to read the book that's said to have influenced so many psychological novels to follow. Might still stand the test of time too. By the end of the story, not sure if protagonist was possessed by the house, or driven insane by it.

May 12, 2020

First, let me say this: this book, like its author, is highly misunderstood and underappreciated. Many critics and scholars acclaim this book as the greatest horror novel of all time (I disagree; I think The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is the greatest); because of this, readers pick of this book expecting shrieking ghouls and bloody gore with green slime running down the walls. None of that is in this book, so the hopes of readers with these expectations are dashed and they call this book stupid and boring (yes, I'm looking at those of you who gave this book 1 star reviews); this is just simply not true and exposes their ignorance. This novel is a masterclass in psychological horror as Eleanor descends into madness and Hill House's malevolent awareness absorbs her. There is no greater terror than our own minds, and that is why psychological horror is so much more intense. This book is in many ways similar to Henry James's Turning of the Screw, which is also psychological horror with an unreliable narrator and ambiguity that leaves readers asking if there were really any ghosts after all.

Jan 25, 2020


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Dec 29, 2020

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson takes place in a house with a sordid past. When a young woman (Eleanor) who's "sensitive" where psychic matters are concerned takes up residence as part of an investigation into strange occurrences at the residence, the old place just gets stranger, until by the end she's exhibiting symptoms of bi-polarity.

Jun 23, 2020

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is a spooky story. Set in an old mansion with a sketchy past, its residence experience strange occurrences of the paranormal. By stories end, our characters are left without their wits, still seeking explanations, as the reader will be too. HILL HOUSE was one of the earliest psychological novels published, setting the stage for a new genre: the thriller.


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Dec 29, 2020

More brandy, anyone? My passion for spirits -"
-Luke, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, by Shirley Jackson

Jun 23, 2020

HILL HOUSE was one of the earliest psychological novels published, setting the stage for a new genre: the thriller.


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Jan 04, 2017

lizbachelder thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 99


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