Some of you may remember that I’m currently doing a female horror author reading challenge – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you can read my ‘My Female Horror Authors Reading List’ post. I started the challenge with Lisa Tuttle, and the next author on my list was Shirley Jackson, who was an American horror and mystery author, with a career spanning two decades.
I’ve not read any of Shirley Jackson’s short stories or novels, but I have watched the 1999 film The Haunting, which is based on Shirley’s novel The Haunting of Hill House. So, having seen the film version, I was keen to read the novel – novels are normally even better than the films.
The Haunting of Hill House is a gothic horror novel, according to The Haunting of Hill House is a gothic horror novel, according to Wikipedia, and Shirley’s fifth novel. It is considered to be one of the best literary ghost stories in the 20th century.
The story is about a group led by Dr John Montague who investigates the claimed supernatural goings-on in a mansion called Hill House. The main character is Eleanor Vance, who is a woman in her 30s looking for adventure after caring for her mother who has recently died. Eleanor feels that Hill House is the answer for her.
I found the story interesting, and it kept me hooked from start to finish. There were scary moments (I won’t say where because I don’t want to spoil it for you), but I wanted more. While I sympathised with Eleanor, I did find her quite needy and a little annoying. However, I didn’t dislike her because I could understand why she was the way she was.
Even though I enjoyed the story, I feel that more could have been added and explained. The ending was a little rushed, and even though I don’t mind an open ending, I was left with too many unanswered questions.
Overall, The Haunting of Hill House was an enjoyable read. Shirley’s words take you to another place, and you feel like you too are at Hill House. After reading this book, I will definitely read her other stories, especially her short stories because I believe I can learn a lot from this author.
Have you read any of Shirley Jackson’s novels or short stories? If you have, then feel free to comment below with your recommendations.
Keep writing, folks!