Sunday Morning! Five short stories by Shirley Jackson

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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3 Responses

  1. InMD
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    says:

    Random connection but I’ve often wondered if the makers of some of those Japanese horror movies that were being remade in the aughts weren’t somehow exposed to Shirley Jackson. They evoke similar feelings of helplessness that we all fear deep down. Think too hard about it and the mundane really can be terrifying. Maybe she’s reminding us that we’re all hanging on by fewer threads than we like to admit. Certainly a disturbing thought especially in this gloomy time of year.

    On a totally different note I watched the (alleged) series finale of the Expanse, or as my wife calls it talky talk space politics. I was disappointed by it, with the resolution both feeling very rushed but also strange that they spent the whole season setting up plots that will apparently never be produced. It’s even weirder that they knew this would be the last season when they started filming it so it isn’t like they got the rug pulled out from under them. It’s really too bad because patient and very deliberate pacing had been one of the show’s strengths.Report

  2. Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    Eastern horror has a very different feel to it. In the West, there’s usually a theme of justice. Bad kids get what they deserve; the monster gets killed at the end. Not in Eastern stuff. There’s an unleashed rage / vengeance goes out of control vibe to it. One bad decision curses an entire town for generations.Report

  3. PD Shaw
    Ignored
    says:

    I read the Library of America collection of Jackson about 5-7 years ago, and was skimming it last week to refresh my memory of which story took place in New York. It was “The Tooth” (and I just double-checked, she does go down to New York), and my recollection is that this was an example of non-suburban story, even if the main character is from somewhere else. A minor observation, but in the process of making sure this was the story I was thinking of, I found a review or comment that concluded that the character’s reactions were so extreme that it couldn’t be just-a-toothache, but she must have undergone an abortion. That seems to ignore way too much of the factual background to connect some meaning to the story, which supports the notion that women of the 1950s live in a foreign land of which we lack a guidebook.

    I thought “the Lottery” did not read so well the second time around, the power is in the surprise ending. The only other story I was reading for the second time was “The Summer People,” which I still think is one of her best short stories. The collection included “Biography of a Story,” in which she share the responses she received to “The Lottery,” which ranged from wanting to know where this custom is taking place, to testing various allegorical readings, to anger and to humor (hopefully, some claimed they were starting this practice or at least starting to collect smooth round stones).

    Also just noticed that there is a second LOA volume, which I’ll probably get some day.Report

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