Scary shit. Right here. I chose to read this on a Saturday with the sun coming in through the windows and birds chirping. And then it took me longer to read than I'd expected. And then David had to leave to go home early and I was left in the house alone. And it was dark outside.
And OH THE SCARY.
Dr. Montague invites three individuals to spend some quality time researching and experiencing Hill House. A mansion with a bad reputation. Eleanor has a history with poltergeist activity, Theo is gorgeous and it's really unclear why she's invited, and Luke is the heir to the house.
It doesn't take long after being in the house that crazy things start to happen. And some of the researchers start to show their own brand of crazy. In all, the book takes place in just over a week's time, and it really shows off its goods in that short window of time.
Jackson is a master of slow-build creep. I learned this when I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but The Haunting of Hill House seems to take things to the next level with a full-on ghost story. I wasn't really THAT scared--other books have scared me worse (The Little Stranger), but there was one instance that made me audibly gasp and think "Ugh!!!" and "EEeeek!" This one is decidedly well-done story. It would be a perfect choice for an RIP read (coming soon!), and it's definitely an accessible classic.
Of the two Shirley Jackson books I've read recently, I did prefer We Have Always Lived in the Castle, even though I found this book scarier. The subtle creepiness and something-isn't-quite-right feeling in Castle is just stunning and still highly relatable. And I found that I felt like I knew the characters better.
If you're lookin' for a good, ole fashioned ghost story, though, this is your book.
Pub. Date: 1959 originally, my edition 1984
Source: Bought it!