I have never read a novel as deliciously disturbing as The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson.
The story begins introducing four characters: a scholar whose purpose is studying psychic phenomena, two young women who have both in the past experienced such phenomena, and a young man who is the future inheritor of a very particular estate. A house, unlike any other. Hill House.
The scholar’s intent is to spend some time at Hill House to prove that what he is studying is real. Bringing the two young women will serve as a catalyst of sorts, according to the doctor. The young heir will have to look after the estate.
Soon enough, the four guests will experience what it means to live at Hill House.
I loved how subtly, how cleverly the novel unfolded. It’s not the classic horror story, and the interpretation of the events could go either way. It all could be in the head of the characters, influenced by the peculiar and claustrophobic way in which the house was built. Or something could really inhabit Hill House.
The story’s demise is shockingly intense, it leaves you hanging in doubt.
There’s the end of a particular chapter that left me quite uncomfortable, and it never happened before while reading this kind of novels. Jackson created a true masterpiece.