Posts Tagged ‘Shirley Jackson’
May 24, 2013 | by The Paris Review
I stayed up much too late finishing Shirley Jackson’s newly reissued Hangsaman—and then was so spooked it took me another two hours and a warm milk to finally fall asleep. The novel, loosely based on the unsolved 1947 disappearance of Bennington College student Paula Jean Welden, is as scary as The Haunting of Hill House, as chilling as “The Lottery,” and as weird as We Have Always Lived in the Castle. (And that’s saying something!) Perfect reading for a gloomy weekend, if not a work night. —Sadie Stein
“Head shot for boar! Open him up! There’s no taste like live boar-heart while it’s still beating in your hand!” Thus Hermann Göring in The Hunters of Karinhall, a movie script by Terry Southern. The script was never produced, oddly enough—but it is newly excerpted in Hot Heart of Boar & Other Tastes, a little chapbook of Southern snippets and outtakes and put-ons that had me laughing before my second cup of coffee. —Lorin Stein
October 31, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
December 10, 2010 | by The Paris Review
This has been a week of emotionally taxing reading. First, Shirley Jackson's deliciously creepy tales (“The Lottery” has nothing on “The Summer People,” by the way), then Joyce Carol Oates’s New Yorker article on her husband’s sudden death and the advent of unexpected widowhood, and finally, a smattering of Marina Tsvetaeva’s vulnerable, heartfelt poems. Next week: Maybe I’ll lighten things up with a little Don Marquis—toujours gai! —Nicole Rudick
A copy of The New Yorker’s newly minted 20 Under 40 book, edited by Deborah Treisman, landed on my desk. The colors on the spine are festively appropriate for the holidays (just like our fresh-off-the-press winter issue). Some of my favorites (and there are many): Daniel Alarcón’s “Second Lives,” (check out what he wrote for us this week); Salvatore Scibona’s “The Kid”; and C. E. Morgan’s “Twins.” —Thessaly La Force
October 22, 2010 | by Lorin Stein
I recently found myself craving some terrifying literature—the idea of reading something frightening feels so seasonally appropriate. That said, I’d like to avoid fiction that panders to generic tropes and also isn’t by Irving or Poe. Could you recommend a work of genuine literary merit that’s also disturbing and Halloween-ish? —Ryan Sheldon
Two spooky writers spring immediately to mind: Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter. Jackson is the more Hallowe’eny of the two. You might begin with her last novel, first published in 1962 (and reissued last year), We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I’m not sure what you mean about generic tropes: This is absolutely pure New England Gothic, but there is no pandering in it. I think the literature of the uncanny depends on genre conventions—and, at its most uncanny, plays with them, so the spooky and the banal get mixed up together.
Readers of The Daily have seen me recommend Angela Carter’s stories, collected in Burning Your Boats. They are favorites of mine. (Burning Your Boats came to me, originally, as a present from kid-lit expert Laura Miller. It is one of those favorite books that I lent out years ago and never got back.) When Carter rewrites a fairytale, she doesn’t make light of it, she finds what is really and truly disturbing in the original and burnishes that until it shines. If you like Bruno Bettelheim, you’ll love Angela Carter.