The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill house, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

This is definitely one of the best book openings I have read in my entire life. The construction of the sentence, where every and each word has importance and meaning, is proof of the incredible minucious work of the writer that is Shirley Jackson.

I am learning the pathways of the heart.

I don’t even know how to talk about this book, because it’s so powerful and good, and perfectly written, and all in under two hundred pages! I truly am in awe of Shirley as a writer. I do think that We Have Always Lived in the Castle remains my favorite of what I read from the author so far, but this was quite good as well.

The simple construction of the house as a character, as the haunted thing itself, and not a ghost in there, deserve standing ovation applause. This is, in my opinion, the biggest feat of this book.

There’s also many subtexts, and interpretations to be taken from many scenes and happenings of the book, and again for a novel that is less than two hundred pages long this is just incredible, there is just so much to process, to think about, to digest.

It watches. The house. It watches every move you make.

Shirley Jackson is also an actual god when it comes to atmosphere. The writing is suberb, descriptive, enthralling and haunting. It leaves on you such a strong impression while you read it that is easy to loose yourself completely. The moments I spent reading this were honestly amazing.

I don’t know how I feel about the ending to be honest. I am slowly coming to terms with it, but I still think that it was a bit rushed compared to other sections of the book. Therefore I am settling on a 4,5 rating.

I wanted to say more about this, because it was a truly special reading experience, because I am more and more captivated and awed by horror and gothic novels, and because this book is just perfectly spendid, but to be honest my words fail me, they elude me and escape, becoming slippery. I only know for certain that this book didn’t leave me unscathed, it left me changed.

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