The Haunting of Hill House
By Shirley Jackson
Why this book?
I’ve loved Shirley Jackson’s work ever since I heard her reading her shocking short story "The Lottery". Her most famous novel, The Haunting of Hill House, is not only a chilling haunted-house story, it also movingly captures the complex dynamic between the house and Eleanor Vance, who has ‘no one to love’ and has ‘never been wanted anywhere.’ Recruited to take part in a group investigation into supernatural manifestations, Eleanor arrives at Hill House, where she feels wanted and included and ‘unbelievably happy.’ But Hill House, gloriously vile, is ‘a place of despair,’ and Jackson has a genius for writing about rejection and exclusion. Every time I read or write about this classic novel I find something new, and its ambiguity makes it very satisfying to discuss.
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