Let me just say that this book is one of the best scary/creepy tales I’ve ever read.
When I started reading it, I kept feeling a rotation of annoyance, being uncomfortable, and being creeped out. Then one of the characters explained to the others that the house was built to make them feel uneasy and gave details about why, and I realized that’s exactly what Shirley Jackson did with the text as well. Every paragraph, sentence, and disjointed idea was made to make me feel uneasy. The writing sucks you right into Eleanor’s mindset, and it was delightfully creepy.
Besides the writing mirroring the house, one other element about the story really impressed me, and that was the confusion of the setting. I had an incredibly hard time pinning down a time period. It starts with a car, so you think it would be easy to imagine the whole thing around Jackson’s lifetime. Not so. My mind, and the characters’, kept shifting between contemporary and earlier times.
As it is a ghost story, it’s pretty hard to say more without spoiling. I will tell you, however, that it follows and deviates from the form in an impressive way. It was thrilling to read, and I couldn’t bring myself to put it down when I read the last hundred and fifty pages (it’s only 182). It’s a must-read if you like ghost stories.