The four visitors at Hill House-- some there for knowledge, others for adventure-- are unaware that the old mansion will soon choose one of them to make its own.
Eleanor Vance has always been a loner--shy, vulnerable, and bitterly resentful of the 11 years she lost while nursing her dying mother. "She had spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words." Eleanor has always sensed that one day something big would happen, and one day it does. She receives an unusual invitation from Dr. John Montague, a man fascinated by "supernatural manifestations." He organizes a ghost watch, inviting people who have been touched by otherworldly events. A paranormal incident from Eleanor's childhood qualifies her to be a part of Montague's bizarre study--along with headstrong Theodora, his assistant, and Luke, a well-to-do aristocrat. They meet at Hill House--a notorious estate in New England.
Hill House is a foreboding structure of towers, buttresses, Gothic spires, gargoyles, strange angles, and rooms within rooms--a place "without kindness, never meant to be lived in...."
Although Eleanor's initial reaction is to flee, the house has a mesmerizing effect, and she begins to feel a strange kind of bliss that entices her to stay. Eleanor is a magnet for the supernatural--she hears deathly wails, feels terrible chills, and sees ghostly apparitions. Once again she feels isolated and alone--neither Theo nor Luke attract so much eerie company. But the physical horror of Hill House is always subtle; more disturbing is the emotional torment Eleanor endures. Intense, literary, and harrowing, The Haunting of Hill House belongs in the same dark league as Henry James's classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw. --Naomi Gesinger
And the reviewer from Lubbock is spot on; My deepest sympathy to anyone who attempts chapter five, section four, alone, at night ...
I've already read every book Stephen King has written, so I was looking for a good horror novel. After reading some of the reviews here, I spent all day hunting for this book, moving from bookstore to bookstore, and when I eventually found this, I started reading, about mid-afternoon. I was caught up with it and couldn't put it down, not even to eat, until two o'clock the next morning. Now it may have just been because I was reading it in the middle of the night, but for me this book is more frightening than any story I've ever read before. There is a strange emotional tapestry among the ghosthunters in this building, but withing the growing unease, there are absolutely terrifying scenes that creep up on you and shock you. What happens to Eleanor over the course of the book makes you shiver. Now, I haven't read Matherson's 'Hell House', but I would say that this is the most frightening story ever.
Journeys end in lovers meeting...
Don't expect skeletons popping out of closets, and ghosties running rampant from page one- if you do, it will only lead you into dissappointment.
Jackson's writing is literary & quite concerned with character development & it has an old-fashioned horror story appeal.
The ending makes this short novel, retrospectively, all the more thrilling.