The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson
Art by M. S. Corley
I'm ashamed to say I hadn't even heard of Shirley Jackson until 2013. Thankfully one of the friends I made on my MA course introduced me to her work, and last Easter I read The Haunting of Hill House.
Horror isn't a genre I read a lot of, and I'm not a particularly big watcher of horror films, either. I like horror films that also have a story (even if I do end up not being able to sleep for a few days after watching them) but watching a film just to see a group of teenagers getting tortured or chopped off or whatever else directors feel like doing to them isn't a fun past time of mine.
When it comes to horror books, the only ones I'd ever read before reading this one were a few Victorian Gothic classics, which were certainly considered to be horror when they were published, and Stephen King's Misery. (Unfortunately I'm not a Stephen King fan; Misery is the only book of his I've actually been able to get through, there's something about his writing style I just don't like).
I wasn't sure what I was going to make of The Haunting of Hill House, because it's so easy for haunted house stories to be rubbish, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only did I enjoy Jackson's writing style, but this book also gave me the heebie jeebies; Jackson doesn't need to rely on gore to frighten you, she just reaches her fingers into your mind and subverts everything you thought you knew to be true. Her skill isn't in what she writes, but in what she chooses not to write.