The Haunting of Hill House - by Shirley Jackson

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”No Human eye can isolate the unhappy coincidence of line and place which suggests evil in the face of a house, and yet somehow a maniac juxtaposition, a badly turned angle, some chance meeting of roof and sky, turned Hill House into a place of despair, more frightening because the face of Hill House seemed awake, with a watchfulness from the blank windows and a touch of glee in the eyebrow of a cornice.”

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is a fictional thriller that follows Eleanor Vance, a thirty two year old woman ruinously navigating some major life changes (though her life to this point has been unusually depressing), as she is gradually permeated by the malicious assemblage of a house believed by some to be “haunted”. Invited to the house by Dr. John Montague because of her interactions with a poltergeist in her childhood (and her resilience to it), Eleanor explores the vertigo-inducing estate with a small cast of characters as her sanity is slowly and inconspicuously eroded.

This novel seemed timeless to me. Although it came out in 1959, it easily fits into today’s society, which is probably why there have been a number of movies and a recent Netflix show created from it. I read this book in two days (rare for me as I am a slow reader), which means that I really got into this book. I loved the gradual changes that the reader can see in Eleanor and how the house subliminally (possibly due to its eccentric construction) causes her to do things that would have been unthinkable for her at the beginning. The house is mostly inert throughout the storyline, but insidiously resonates with the characters’ psyche.

I found this book in my local Chapters/Indigo store and was attracted to it because I really enjoyed the recent Netflix TV series. I totally forgot about the 1999 film based on this book titled “The Haunting” (with Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Owen Wilson).

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Joe Enns

Joe Enns Art is a website showing the oil paintings of Joe Enns, an Oil Painter and Fisheries Biologist located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. This website is dedicated to showing the beauty of the natural world, developing oil painting skills, as well as, fisheries and stream conservation and restoration.