Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Most people seem to read this novel in their teens but somehow it passed me by and I've found myself writing a novel about a bunch of teenagers (why didn't it occur to me that I haven't been a teenager for quite a long time?) and so I've been reading some of the novels you read around then... which is all to say, this is an engagingly written novel--I enjoyed it much more than I expected--but really not scary which is what I understood it to be for most people. And as a teen I was definitely scared by books--I remember being home alone reading Cujo and having to go sit in the backyard, where I felt amongst people, while I finished it--but now I find it really hard to imagine being scared by a book--maybe I should say by the text because I'm still traumatized by the copy of Rumpty Dudget's Tower on my parents' bookshelf. There was one moment that unnerved me in Hill House though and it's when the characters find strange writing (in blood, 'natch) on the wall. It seems text from the beyond (Redrum relapse perhaps?) is more frightening than other manifestations. Wonder why that is, and if it's just a personal thing or if somehow textual voices really are scary?

1 comment:

Susan Allspaw Pomeroy said...

I agree with you that disembodied textual voices are frightening, maybe because we do so much work with the written word that for it to come out of nowhere represents so much more effort than we (I) can do.