I’ve been having a lot of difficulty reading lately and it had gotten to the stage where I couldn’t even choose a book to read. So I left it up to the exquisite taste of my followers of my Twitter account to help me choose.
They came up with some cracking suggestions, some I had some I’ve bought now, and a lot that I’ve added to my TBR list for future exploration. But the one that came up quite regularly and kept grabbing my attention every time it got mentioned was ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson.
There were lots that appealed to me about this, short, gothic horror, a ‘should’ read for years, I’ve already got it, one of my favourite MG authors loves it, and best of all Nigel said we could read it together 🙂
The phrase ‘a must read’ is often overused and peppered around liberally to the extent that it loses its power, but this book really is a must read.
I was gripped from the opening paragraph that describes Hill House so well as a malevolent, evil being. Followed by the build up of Eleanor as she approaches Hill House, with the final paragraph of Chapter 1 ending on another description of Hill House and how evil it looks.
The writing was so urgent and clear that it was difficult to read at a shared pace, sorry Nigel, and as the book progressed the Gothic aspects of the horror grew greater and darker.
What follows is a tense, dark, and desperate depiction of a descent into paranoia, madness and horror. There are some really great stand out scenes which seem to have made themselves part of the Gothic Horror lexicon and I’ve seen or read elsewhere but this seems to be the source of a lot of them.
The holding hand scene is one of them, but even with it being a bit if a worn trope now this still grabbed me.
This book really is a keeper and I’m looking forward to eventually revisiting as I suspect that there will be bits I’ve missed or that meaning will develop further on re-reading.
So glad I finally got around to reading this and will be on the look out for the 1963 film adaptation that was said to be so good, may even have a peek at the Netflix adaptation to see if all the fuss that was made about that is true also.