Shirley Jackson by Shirley Jackson
Novels and Stories (The Lottery / The Haunting of Hill House / We Have Always Lived in the Castle)

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Synopsis

"The world of Shirley Jackson is eerie and unforgettable," writes A. M. Homes. "It is a place where things are not what they seem; even on a morning that is sunny and clear there is always the threat of darkness looming, of things taking a turn for the worse." Jackson's characters-mostly unloved daughters in search of a home, a career, a family of their own-chase what appears to be a harmless dream until, without warning, it turns on its heel to seize them by the throat. We are moved by these characters' dreams, for they are the dreams of love and acceptance shared by us all. We are shocked when their dreams become nightmares, and terrified by Jackson's suggestion that there are unseen powers-"demons" both subconscious and supernatural-malevolently conspiring against human happiness.

In this volume Joyce Carol Oates, our leading practitioner of the contemporary Gothic, presents the essential works of Shirley Jackson, the novels and stories that, from the early 1940s through the mid-1960s, wittily remade the genre of psychological horror for an alienated, postwar America. She opens with The Lottery (1949), Jackson's only collection of short fiction, whose disquieting title story-one of the most widely anthologized tales of the 20th century-has entered American folklore. Also among these early works are "The Daemon Lover," a story Oates praises as "deeper, more mysterious, and more disturbing than 'The Lottery,' " and "Charles," the hilarious sketch that launched Jackson's secondary career as a domestic humorist. Here too are Jackson's masterly short novels: The Haunting of Hill House (1959), the tale of an achingly empathetic young woman chosen by a haunted house to be its new tenant, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962), the unrepentant confessions of Miss Merricat Blackwood, a cunning adolescent who has gone to quite unusual lengths to preserve her ideal of family happiness. Rounding out the volume are 21 other stories and sketches that showcase Jackson in all her many modes, and the essay "Biography of a Story," Jackson's acidly funny account of the public reception of "The Lottery," which provoked more mail from readers of The New Yorker than any contribution before or since.



 

About Shirley Jackson

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Published May 27, 2010 by Library of America. 832 pages
Genres: Horror, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Shirley Jackson

The New York Times

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Near the end of Shirley Jackson’s most famous novel, “The Haunting of Hill House,” the heroine, a lonely young woman named Eleanor, thinks to herself, “What I want in all this world is peace, a quiet spot to lie and think, a quiet spot up among the flowers where I can dream and tell myself sweet ...

Aug 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

The Guardian

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Also, athough he becomes increasingly disorientated as the book progresses, their wheel-chair bound Uncle Julian is an unexpected source of occasional lucidity, which becomes necessary as the plot and narrative become more and more dreamlike.

Feb 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

The Guardian

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The horror inherent in the novel does not lie in Hill House (monstrous though it is) or the events that take place within it, but in the unexplored recesses of its characters' – and its readers' – minds.

Feb 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

The Guardian

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The title story might be the one for which Shirley Jackson is famed but, as this volume suggests, it was not entirely typical of her oeuvre.

Jan 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

BC Books

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The edition begins with Jackson's only published short story collection entitled "The Lottery" which, besides the infamous title story, contains among others: "The Daemon Lover," a story that Oates describes as "deeper, more mysterious and more disturbing" than the title story, but this we only k...

Jan 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

Examiner

The Intoxicated by Shirley Jackson is about an intoxicated man’s conversation with a seventeen year-old girl.

Aug 25 2013 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

When Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery" was published in the New Yorker in June 1948, the now-famous tale about the annual and arbitrary selection of a candidate for execution in a small town caused such deep disquiet amongst subscribers that they were compelled to verbalize it, in lette...

May 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

December 14: Shirley Jackson was born on this day in 1919.

Dec 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

London Review of Books

They fell in love and started their own publication, calling it Spectre, after the one haunting Europe, in which they attacked the university’s policies on race, trashed the writing teacher’s poetry collection, and annoyed the administration so thoroughly that although Jackson became one of Syrac...

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The New York Review of Books

Some are firemen who seem sincere in their efforts to put out the fire but most want to see the Blackwood house destroyed: “Why not let it burn?… Let it burn!” The jeering rhyme is heard again: “Merricat, said Constance, would you like a cup of tea?” “Merricat, said Constance, would you like ...

Oct 08 2009 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

Nashville Public Library

Jackson’s brand of psychological terror is made scarier by its juxtaposition with extremely realistic settings.

Oct 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

The Paris Review

In honor of the master of the creepy story, Shirley Jackson, we bring you this incredibly misleading pulp paperback cover.

Oct 31 2012 | Read Full Review of Shirley Jackson: Novels and S...

Reader Rating for Shirley Jackson
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