|from "The Haunting" -- Hill House
A few weeks ago, I read Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and was just blown away with just how great of a book it is. It's definitely not your average haunted house story, for example, as in the case of John Boyne's This House is Haunted, where there is an actual spirit in the house who haunts the governesses of her children, or in Haunted by James Herbert where there are definitely ghosts who cause trouble for a paranormal investigator. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with the appearance of ghosts and other creepy entities in haunted house novel (and let's face it -- they're fun when you want a bit of light reading and want that nice shiver of fright running down your spine), The Haunting of Hill House gave me an entirely new perspective on things. When it was over and I thought about it, I realized that unlike the straight-up haunted house novels mentioned above, The Haunting of Hill House works at a much deeper level, focusing mainly on the character of Eleanor Vance. At some point I remember asking myself whether it could possibly be Eleanor herself unconsciously projecting her own neurosis (and she has many psychological issues that revealed themselves as I went through the book) and actually creating the "hauntings" that occurred there. On the other hand, it could be the house itself that is evil in its own right, something malevolent that wants something from the people within. Actually, now that I'm rehashing it in my head, maybe it's a combination of both.
|Borley Rectory, England
So far since Jackson, I've read Nazareth Hill, by Ramsey Campbell (another excellent novel but not quite in the same range of excellence as Haunting of Hill House, imo, but close), which I will discuss sometime soon down the road, and another I'll post about shortly, Kim Newman's An English Ghost Story. Currently I'm reading The Feast of Bacchus by Ernest G. Henham written in 1907 and republished by Valancourt Books.
Any help with titles would be welcomed, the more obscure, the better.