AUTHOR OF THE WEEK June 13
(Mysteries, Supernatural, Gothic Horror, “Quiet Horror”)
“In the country of the story the writer is king.”
“I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it, and make it work, and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.”
“I began writing stories about my children because, more than any other single being in the world, children possess and kind of magic that makes much of what they do so oddly logical and yet so incredible to grown-ups.”
Shirley Jackson is American novelist and short story writer. The Lottery is her most famous short story but most of us admire her novel The Haunting of Hill House. She wrote six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories. The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle established her as a master of gothic horror and psychological suspense.
Listen to Shirley Jackson read her short stories,
The Lottery and The Daemon Lover:
The writing of Hangsaman, Shirley Jackson’s second novel, has inspired one of the most anticipated films of 2020. Shirley, won awards at Sundance Festival in January, is a psychological thriller that reflects on writing, womanhood and what it means to be a wife in 1950s America. Elisabeth Moss plays Jackson.
The film opens with a shot of the infamous short story The Lottery in The New Yorker. In actuality, Jackson started writing Hangsaman in 1950. The film focused on when Jackson was living in Bennington, Vermont, before she moved to Westport, Connecticut.
Hangsaman’s narrative structure descends into a shapeshifting ambiguity that left some critics at the time rather confused. But this is where Shirley really comes into its own in illustrating Jackson’s potential thought process behind the novel. “So what will become of your heroine?” asks Hyman, to which Jackson replies: “What happens to all lost girls: they go mad.”
Watch the trailer:
(Classic “Quiet Horror”)
Library of American interviews Joyce Carole Oates about Shirley Jackson (6 pages:
Click to access LOA_Oates_on_Jackson.pdf
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