Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson – Twenty-something readers Book Club
OK, first be warned, this is a slow read that builds to a creepy ending. It is well written in the classical horror sense of things that go bump in the night, not Michael Myers chopping heads off. The story centers around a group of four people brought together by Dr. Montague, to live in and observe Hill House , a house known for its haunted episodes and strange deaths. The center of the story’s focus is on Eleanor, the odd 30-something who for most of her life took care of her sick mother. She had been picked by the doctor because she had experienced a poltergeist when she was young. Theodora is another participant, picked for her telekinetic powers. The two girls have a love/hate relationship. The final character of the four is Luke, the future heir to the strange home. I found a large part of it a tough read to plow through, despite its short length, only about 180 pages. The reader is kept in a constant state of “when’s something going to happen,” and then “what just happened?” Jackson leaves the story ambiguous and the events unresolved. However, after completing the novel and letting it sink in, I found it was really a good book. I especially enjoyed the group’s discussion as it was a great chance for all of us to ask our questions and maybe resolve a few of them. Give this a try, but be patient with it, think of it like a dinner that is cooked in a crock pot, slowly stewing to perfection.