I don’t know what’s more embarrassing: that it took me until 2015 to read Shirley Jackson’s 1959 classic The Haunting of Hill House or that it took me until 2015 for me to read my first Shirley Jackson story 1. Or that I actually saw the movie adaptation of this novel before I read the book. At least it was the 1963 movie — the good one — and not the trainwreck from a few years ago.
No live 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 continued 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.
But now Hill House is going to have guests.