My Friday Post: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Today my Book Beginning is from The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

No living 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 might continue 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.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

The sun went down smoothly behind the hills, slipping almost eagerly, at last, into the pillowy masses. There were already long shadows on the lawn as Eleanor and Theodora came up the path toward the side veranda of Hill House, blessedly hiding its mad face in the growing darkness.

This book has been described as a ‘perfect work of unnerving terror’, so it’s ideal reading for Hallowe’en.


Alone in the world, Eleanor is delighted to take up Dr Montague’s invitation to spend a summer in the mysterious Hill House. Joining them are Theodora, an artistic ‘sensitive’, and Luke, heir to the house. But what begins as a light-hearted experiment is swiftly proven to be a trip into their darkest nightmares, and an investigation that one of their number may not survive. Twice filmed as The Haunting, and the inspiration for a 10-part Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House is a powerful work of slow-burning psychological horror.

8 thoughts on “My Friday Post: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson”

  1. Oh, what an excellent choice, Margaret! I really hope you’ll love this one. Shirley Jackson did such a great job of building psychological suspense without using gore, and I think this is a good example of that.


  2. Hi Margaret! I might join you and read this one for Halloween this year. I’ve never read it. Gosh that cover is nice. And the excerpts! What beautiful writing. There’s a reason why this is still on the must read lists.

    Happy weekend and here’s my Weekend Book Friends #9


    1. There are two films. The one with Julie Harris and Claire Bloom is terrific, but if you watched the re-make, I can understand why you weren’t impressed.


  3. Hi Margaret,
    I absolutely loved reading The Haunting of Hill House. I think largely because it’s so thoroughly original, so different from other books in this genre. It kept me guessing and questioning from beginning to the end. In this way, it reminds me a little of The Turn of the Screw, though The Haunting of Hill House is even more unsettling.


  4. This is one of my favorite books. Jackson was an amazing writer. It’s hard to believe that the author of such an unnerving book like The Haunting of Hill House could also write such funny books as Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons.


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