Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Spoiler-Free)
Don't do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don't do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl.
I'm glad I went into this with the right expectations. I've never seen the show, but I know some people who watched that first were very confused by how different the book is. Based on what I've heard about the book, I assumed it would be something similar to The Turn of the Screw by Henry James—an ambiguous novel whose horrors are more concerned with psychology than literal monsters.
Had I read this book more slowly, I think I would have gotten even more out of it. I still very much enjoyed it, but I'd definitely be interested in reading it again in the future in shorter bursts so I could really study each scene.
The prose itself is what makes this book haunting. The events that occur, though unsettling, aren't anything you haven't seen. But the way Jackson writes, the way she sprinkles in little tantalizing thoughts, little dastardly strings of dialogue, that's what leeches into your head while reading.
I'm now quite curious about the show and about reading more from Jackson. I think next on my TBR from her will be We've Always Lived In the Castle which I've heard from many is even better than this one.
book one: the haunting of hill house
book two: ten
book three: night of the mannequins