A Haunting On The Hill – A BUST Review

by Ellia Bisker

Elizabeth Hand is a master of unease, and A Haunting on the Hill, her sequel to Shirley Jackson’s 1959 gothic horror classic The Haunting of Hill House (the only sequel to be authorized by the late author’s estate), is an exhilarating, disturbing successor to the original. 

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, a group of theater artists undertake a self-imposed residency to work on a new play at an isolated mansion. The group includes a struggling playwright; her singer/songwriter girlfriend; a sound designer with a sordid history; and an older actress angling for a comeback. Their complex tangle of egos, ambitions, and secrets would make for compelling reading even if they weren’t staying in a haunted house. But almost immediately, something uncanny begins to make its presence known.

Hand has a gift for unsettling images that linger: a lipstick with tiny bite marks at the tip, a hidden door set into a wall, a black hare smiling with bloody red teeth. Familiarity with the original book’s sinister history enhances the experience, but readers new to Hill House won’t feel lost in the dark. (Though they may wish to read with all the lights on.) 

Image via Mulholland Books

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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