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Shirley Jackson was born in an affluent suburb in California in 1916. At university in Syracuse, she met her husband, the future literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, with whom she had four children. In 1948 she published her iconic short story 'The Lottery' in The New Yorker, sparking furious letters from readers to the magazine. Her novels - most of which involve elements of horror and the occult - include The Road through the Wall, Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley Jackson died in her sleep in 1965 at the age of 48.
Author photo © Hyman
From the title you might imagine that this novel would be the most conventional of haunted house stories, but a line on page one suggests the true flavour of the chills to come: “Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within…”. That “not sane” is the key. From there we are back to the usual sort of premise. The lonely Eleanor is invited by psychic investigator Dr Montague to join a small group to stay for the summer in the notoriously haunted Hill House. At a loose end and seeking companionship Eleanor joins the small group. Things soon start to go awry. Rustlings and fleeting shapes in the beautiful grounds, sounds where there should be quiet in the ugly rooms Jackson expertly weaves a steadily building sense of dread and darkness around the house. But tellingly Eleanor and the others in the group have brought their own darkness with them. Eleanor’s life was far from happy before she came to Hill House and you can’t run away from your life. The Haunting of Hill House is the most psychological of ghost stories. Jackson knows that we carry our fears inside us and her novel leaves you profoundly unsure of where ghosts really come from. There are few shocks in the book but Jackson’s clever, understated and insidious prose ensures its horrors creep up on you and stay with you long after you finish the book. The book has been filmed but neither version does it justice – this is extraordinary stuff. Fans of Stephen King and Michelle Paver? You have been warned – you are holding darkness within. ~ Simon Spanton
Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn't leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family. This Penguin edition includes an afterword by the acclaimed novelist Joyce Carol Oates. All Shirley Jackson's other novels, plus The Lottery and Other Stories, are available in Penguin Modern Classics. Shirley Jackson was born in California in 1916. When her short story The Lotterywas first published in The New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent her hate mail; it has since become one of the most iconic American stories of all time. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, was published in the same year and was followed by five more: Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial,The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece. In addition to her dark, brilliant novels, she wrote lightly fictionalized magazine pieces about family life with her four children and her husband, the critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. Shirley Jackson died in her sleep in 1965 at the age of 48.
Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is a memorable and terrifying masterpiece, fueled by a tension that creeps up on you slowly without any clear indication of why. This is just a townful of people, after all, choosing their numbers for the annual lottery. What's there to be scared of?
Shirley Jackson skewered the trials of domestic life in 1950s America with wry wit and uncanny precision. In this sequel to Life Among the Savages, her four offspring have now grown into fully-fledged demons. As their house starts to burst at the seams, the Jackson clan somehow manage (without really planning it) to move into a larger home, only to take the chaos - absent furniture, vanishing children, misbehaving refrigerators, an avalanche of books - right along with them.
A darkly funny account of family life from the author of The Haunting of Hill House and The Lottery 'Sometimes, in my capacity as a mother, I find myself sitting open-mouthed and terrified before my own children' As well as being a master of the macabre, Shirley Jackson was also a pitch-perfect chronicler of everyday family life. In Life Among the Savages, her caustically funny account of raising her children in a ramshackle house in Vermont, she deals with rats in the cellar, misbehaving imaginary friends, an oblivious husband and ever-encroaching domestic chaos, all described with wit, warmth and plenty of bite. 'Jackson's family chronicles have a genuinely subversive aspect ... Read today, her pieces feel surprisingly modern - mainly because she refuses to sentimentalize or idealize motherhood' The New York Times Book Review 'Comic masterpieces, laced with hints of the discontent that lies beneath' Guardian
Dr Montague, a scientific investigator of ghostly phenomena, has chosen to live for several weeks at Hill House, by repute a place of horror that will brook no human habitation. To check and contribute to his observations, he selects three companions previously unknown to him; two girls, Theo and Eleanor, and Luke, a young man, who is heir to Hill House. What happens cannot, in fairness, be told. But Dr Montague's words were prophetic: 'A ghost cannot hurt anyone; only the fear of ghosts can be dangerous.' Whether the ghosts at Hill House caused the fear, or the fear created the ghosts, there were such manifestations as to produce, finally, an ultimate terror that was all too palpable and down-to-earth.
"e;The Lottery"e; was originally published in the June 26, 1948 issue of The New Yorker. Although it has gained a well-earned reputation as a classic and become one of the most famous short stories in the history of American literature, it initially received a negative response, which surprised both Shirley Jackson and The New Yorker. After its appearance, readers cancelled subscriptions and sent hate mail throughout the summer. The Union of South Africa even banned the story.This chilling tale of a lottery in a small town which ends in death remains a powerful piece of literature, however, and is a true classic in every sense of the word.
' Of course, no one would want to say anything about a girl like this that's missing... ' Malice, paranoia and creeping dread lie beneath the surface of ordinary American life in these chilling miniature masterworks of unease. Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
Step into the unsettling world of Shirley Jackson this autumn with a collection of her finest, darkest short stories, revealing the queen of American gothic at her mesmerising best. There's something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods... Includes the following stories: 'The Possibility of Evil'; 'Louisa, Please Come Home'; 'Paranoia'; 'The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith'; 'The Story We Used to Tell'; 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'; 'Jack the Ripper'; 'The Beautiful Stranger'; 'All She Said Was Yes'; 'What a Thought'; 'The Bus'; 'Family Treasures'; 'A Visit'; 'The Good Wife'; 'The Man in the Woods'; 'Home'; 'The Summer People'.
A remarkable collection of dark, funny and haunting short stories from the inimitable author of 'The Lottery'. An anxious devil, an elderly writer of poison pen letters and a mid-century Jack the Ripper; a pursuit though a nightmarish city, a small boy's thrilling train ride with a female thief, and a town where the possibility of evil lurks behind perfect rose bushes. This is the world of Shirley Jackson, by turns frightening, funny, strange and unforgettably revealed in this brilliant collection of short stories. 'Jackson at her best: plumbing the extraordinary from the depths of mid-twentieth-century common. [Just an Ordinary Day] is a gift to a new generation' - San Francisco Chronicle 'For Jackson devotees, as well as first-time readers, this is a feast ... A virtuoso collection' - Publishers Weekly
From the peerless author of The Lottery and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, this is a treasure trove of deliciously dark and funny stories, essays, lectures, letters and drawings. Let Me Tell You brings together the brilliantly eerie short stories Jackson is best known for with frank and inspiring lectures on writing; comic essays she wrote about her large, rowdy family; and revelatory personal letters and drawings. Jackson's landscape here is most frequently domestic - dinner parties, children's games and neighbourly gossip - but one that is continually threatened and subverted in her unsettling, inimitable prose. This collection is the first opportunity to see Shirley Jackson's radically different modes of writing side by side, revealing her to be a magnificent storyteller, a sharp, sly humorist and a powerful feminist. 'The stories range from sketches and anecdotes to complete and genuinely unsettling tales, somewhat alarming and very creepy ... The whole of the book offers insights into the vagaries of her mind, which was ruminant and generous ... For those of us whose imaginations, and creative ambitions, were ignited by 'The Lottery', Jackson remains one of the great practitioners of the literature of the darker impulses' - Paul Theroux, New York Times 'Shirley Jackson made a reputation with a short story in 1948. Like a lot of people I read 'The Lottery' when I was young, in an anthology of short stories from the New Yorker, and never forgot it. Let Me Tell You is a rich, enjoyable compendium of her unpublished short fiction and occasional writings, kicking off with a story of a dozen pages, 'Paranoia', which I won't forget, either' - Tom Stoppard, TLS Books of the Year
This anthology of short stories brings together some of author Shirley Jacksons most celebrated pieces of short fiction. It includes her most famous story, The Lottery, about a small American town preparing for their strange annual traditiona lottery in which every family must participate, and no one wants to win. The Lottery and Other Stories was the only short story collection published during Shirley Jacksons lifetime. Her story The Lottery stands out as one of the most famous short stories in American literary history. HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library.
In a small American town, the local residents are abuzz with excitement and nervousness when they wake on the morning of the twenty-seventh of June. Everything has been prepared for the towns annual traditiona lottery in which every family must participate, and no one wants to win. The Lottery stands out as one of the most famous short stories in American literary history. Originally published in The New Yorker, the author immediately began receiving letters from readers who demanded an explanation of the storys meaning. The Lottery has been adapted for stage, television, radio and film.HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library.
Luke Sanderson, inheritor of the mysterious Hill House, invites a supernatural investigator and several guests interested in the paranormal to his eighty-year-old mansion in the hopes that they can experience and record supernatural events. As time passes, the group experiences increasingly terrifying and unexplainable disturbances, and one guestEleanor Vanceseems to be a particular target of the strange occurrences. The Haunting of Hill House is one of the most famous ghost stories in literary history, and was a finalist for the National Book Award of 1959. Lauded by horror legends like Stephen King and named the greatest haunted-house story ever written by the Wall Street Journal, it has been adapted into films several times and served as a foundation for many modern ghost stories.HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library.
Mary Katherine Merricat Blackwood and her elder sister Constance live alone in their ancestral home with their crippled uncle after the tragic murder of both of their parents, their aunt, and their younger brother. Having been accused and later acquitted of the murders, Constance confines herself to the grounds of their home, while Merricat contends with their hostile neighbors and with the ever-increasing sense of impending danger she feels is heading their way. In We Have Always Lived in the Castle, author Shirley Jackson deftly handles delicate subjects like mental illness, agoraphobia, and social isolation. We Have Always Lived in the Castle was Jacksons final novel, and has been held in high critical esteem since its publication in 1962.HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library.
Natalie Waite may have had a fairly normal upbringing, but her deteriorating relationship with her parents and general unhappiness leave her with an eagerness to escape her childhood when it comes time for her to leave for college at the age of seventeen. However, her new independent life and identity soon begin to seem empty as well, and the happiness and freedom she desired never seem to arrive, leaving Natalie to slowly unravel. Hangsaman is one of author Shirley Jacksons lesser known, but critically acclaimed works. Presenting itself as a simple coming-of-age tale, Jackson deftly manipulates her heroines delicate instability to craft a uniquely suspenseful story about identity and loneliness.HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library.
The debut novel from one of the twentieth century's most fascinating authors. Pepper Street is a street in suburban California, home to a firmly middle-class group of families, families who have carved out a space for themselves that falls short of the glamour of the nearby upper class communities, but is comfortable and respectable nonetheless. Their communal calm, built on strict social hierarchy, racism, and exclusion, is shattered when a hole opens up in a wall at the end of the street, and things for the inhabitants of Pepper Street become much less stable and much less clear. Penguin Random House Canada is proud to bring you classic works of literature in e-book form, with the highest quality production values. Find more today and rediscover books you never knew you loved.