Her narrations are dark, horrific but gripping at the same time
American writer Shirley Jackson is famously known for her horror and mystery narrations. In her writing career spanning over two decades, Jackson composed six novels, two memoirs, and more than 200 short stories. Coming from an era when women were not encouraged or rather allowed to work outside of the house, Shirley Jackson established a writing career for herself from the onset of the 1950s. The author published her debut novel in 1948, The Road Through the Wall, which is a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood in California. However, Jackson gained major public attention mainly for her short story The Lottery that narrates the sinister underside of a bucolic American village. After that, she went on to write numerous short stories with a peculiar storyline. The author was also known for enjoying humour to the fullest.
This short fiction is a collection of 17 of Shirley Jackson’s short stories. As the title suggests, these stories are dark and chilling as it narrates the most haunting tales of domestic life. It is the author’s innate ability to turn even the mundane, ordinary lives and situations into a nightmare and shows the dissatisfaction of the loving housewives who constantly battle with homicidal thoughts. The stories are disconcerting tales of life gone wrong, and nothing seems to appear the way it seems to be; it is a game of hiding and seeking in her narrations.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
This 1962 mystery novel was Jackson’s final work as it was published three years before her death in 1965. The novel is written from the perspective of an 18-year-old girl Mary Katherine ‘Merricat’ Blackwood. The teen lives with her sister and uncle on an estate in Vermont. The story of the novel revolves around the three and an incident that happened six years ago, leaving the Blackwood family isolated from their small village. This novel has been described as Jackson’s masterpiece.
The Bird’s Nest
This 1954 novel revolves around the character of a 23-year-old young woman named Elizabeth Richmond, who suffers from multiple personality disorder and lives with her unstable aunt. The story follows this young woman dealing with four separate personalities that constantly put her perceptions to question. While dealing with a serious issue of personality disorder, the author has paid attention to details while writing the dilemmas.
A few others of Shirley Jackson’s works are memoir Life Among the Savages, Hangsaman, and The Haunting of Hill House. The author is cited to be a literary influence on a diverse set of authors, such as Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Sarah Waters, Nigel Kneale, Claire Fuller, Joanne Harris, and Richard Matheson.