Book Recs: Shirley Jackson

I LOVE Shirley Jackson, and these are, in my opinion her best. BUT, her short stories are…phenomenal.  I wouldn’t necessarily classify these books as horror, although that’s definitely part of it, especially with Hill House. What makes these books so creepy is their psychological aspects. I was introduced to Shirley in college when I was assigned to read her short story  The Lottery. It really struck a chord with me, and I immediately set out to read everything she’d written.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

The Haunting of Hill House: First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

 

13388[1]Shirley Jackson was an influential American author. A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years. She has influenced such writers as Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson.

She is best known for her dystopian short story, “The Lottery” (1948), which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown America. In her critical biography of Shirley Jackson, Lenemaja Friedman notes that when Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery” was published in the June 28, 1948, issue of The New Yorker, it received a response that “no New Yorker story had ever received.” Hundreds of letters poured in that were characterized by, as Jackson put it, “bewilderment, speculation and old-fashioned abuse.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Book Recs: Shirley Jackson

  1. I simply LOVE Shirley Jackson’s short stories–her way of pairing “typical” suburban characters with chilling psychological and even supernatural themes is brilliant. I’ve enjoyed some of her novels, but to me, her short stories are the best works.

  2. Pingback: Shirley Jackson is the Queen of Short Fiction | Book Jacket Letters

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