Posts Tagged ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

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I first read The Haunting of Hill House as a child when I happened on it at the library. It changed the course of my reading and my own writing. I’ve reread it half a dozen times over the years. Recently, after at least a fifteen-year hiatus, I read it again. It’s as wonderful as ever, and it held a few forgotten surprises, too.

The 1960 movie is very true to the book but it leaves out a mysterious scene that happens late in the book. Theo and Eleanor go outside and encounter a child’s birthday party. They see a dog; perhaps the same creature that leads the men away from the house early in the book. And then they see something else that sends them running back to Hill House in terror.

The chapter ends there and when it picks up it’s obvious they’ve told the men what they saw – but Jackson never informs the reader. I don’t know how I ever forgot about this delightfully creepy twist, but now it haunts me. What did they see? I’m going to read the book yet again very soon because of it. I had just turned 11 the first time I read it and I was struck by the stone lions and the cup of stars almost as much as the scrabbling at the doors and the phantom hand-holding.

I saw only a ghost story back then and I adored it. Later, I understood the psychological aspects as well as the sexual ones but preferred to remember my more innocent impressions. This time, in full maturity, I loved it for everything it contained. It’s a beautiful, elegant tragedy and probably the best ghost story ever written.

For more: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/tamara-thorne?list=reviews

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