Article: Haunted by Houses
Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, I wrote about gothic horror, Shirley Jackson, and California Victorians:
RIGHT BEFORE SHIRLEY JACKSON began working on her 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House, a postcard depicting a California mansion started bothering her. “It was an ugly house,” she wrote. “[A]ll angles and all wrong. It was sick, diseased.” She wrote to her mother, who still lived near San Francisco where Jackson grew up, and asked if she knew anything about it. Her mother replied that her “great-grandfather had built it. She remembered when the people of the town got together one night and burned it down.” Soon, Jackson was at work on the best haunted house novel I’ve read.