Font Size

Font Size

 

Shirley Jackson, Revisited

Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson

letmetellyouAuthor Shirley Jackson, who scared at least one generation (mine) of schoolchildren with her short story, The Lottery, died at the age of 48 in 1965, after publishing six novels, two memoirs, several children's books, and a collection of stories. After her death, two more books of her stories came out, and her children released another collection in 1996. Now, once again, Jackson is on the literary radar with the publication this week of a new anthology of stories, essays, sketches, and anecdotes. While Jackson is known best as a gothic/horror writer due to her novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, (and The Lottery), one of her biographers, Ruth Franklin, says that most of Jackson's work falls outside those categories, especially her family memoirs, which are hilarious accounts of raising children in a small town in Vermont. The new anthology contains a sampling of all the facets of Jackson's work, from domestic humor "to complete and genuinely unsettling tales, somewhat alarming and very creepy," according to reviewer Paul Theroux in The New York Times Book Review. Theroux goes on to say that while not all of the material in the anthology is Jackson's best, "the assortment is large enough to contain much that is satisfying."