The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is a classic horror novel. I've always loved the film based on it, but I'd never read the book itself. It was no disappointment. It makes a wonderful companion to the film, different in some ways while telling the same story. I recommend both. They sustain an eerie quality that attracts me.
Laura Miller's introduction (spoilers abound, so read this intro after the book) is reprinted here. She says the book "exudes a lingering, clammy dread," and she compares it to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.
On Eleanor's way to Hill House (and the quote recurs through the book):
Journey's end, she thought, and far back in her mind, sparkling like the little stream, a tag end of a tune danced though her head, bringing distantly a word or so; "In delay there lies no plenty," she thought, "in delay there lies no plenty.From Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, it's a song:
What is love? 'tis not hereafter;She also quotes, "Journeys end in lovers meeting" throughout the book. This is also from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night:
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure.
O mistress mine, where are you roaming?Early in their time at Hill House, the doctor mentions having brought Pamela along to help him sleep. I got a big kick out of this since I've read that book. It can in no way be called a riveting read. The doctor says, "If any of you has trouble sleeping, I will read aloud to you. I never yet knew anyone who could not fall asleep with Richardson being read aloud to him." He later mentions having brought Clarissa Harlowe to read once he's done with Pamela, and I honestly think Clarissa might be even more boring than Pamela. When he does finish Pamela, he begins Charles Grandison (another epistolary novel by Richardson). Can he pick 'em or what!
O, stay and hear; your true love's coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know.
An interesting quote from midway through the book:
"No physical danger exists," the doctor said positively. "No ghost in all the long histories of ghosts has ever hurt anyone physically. The only damage done is by the victim to himself."from the back of the book:
Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House. Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Luke, the adventurous future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with chilling, even horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers - and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.