The Haunting of Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Shirley Jackson
by Justine E., Digital Services Librarian
Shirley Jackson
is regarded as an American literary genius for her classic horror stories such as The Haunting of Hill House, Hangsaman, and her famous short story published in The New Yorker Magazine in 1948, The Lottery. The unsettling, dystopian short story generated the most mail in the history of The New Yorker, as readers expressed confusion and outrage at the dark turn the story takes.

The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. The story is about four people who each have their own reasons for exploring Hill House. What starts as just a spooky encounter turns into something much more terrifying. The story has been made into two feature films, a play, and a Netflix series. Hangsaman is a bildungsroman (coming of age story) where real and imaginary worlds intertwine as the protagonist makes a new friend who guides her into increasingly dangerous situations.  

Shirley Jackson’s life was short - she died in 1965 at the age of 49 - but very influential to many other writers. Neil Gaiman says there are a few books that make him want to sleep with the light on, but the one that beats them all and haunts him to this day is Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

Horror writer Stephen King calls The Haunting of Hill House one of only two great novels of the supernatural in the last 100 years. If you are curious to see just how spooky it is, you can get it in print form from the library, or as an ebook or audiobook on Libby.
Reading List
If you like Shirley Jackson's books, you might like these:

And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie

Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn 

Available Dark
by Elizabeth Hand 

The Children’s Home
by Charles Lambert 

Mexican Gothic
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

White is for Witching
by Helen Oyeyemi 

The Cask of Amontillado
by Edgar Allan Poe 

Kill Creek
by Scott Thomas 

The Turn of the Key
by Ruth Ware 

The Daylight Gate
by Jeanette Winterson