The stories in this edition represent the great diversity of her work, from humor to her shocking explorations of the human psyche. The tales range, chronologically, from the writings of her college days and residence in Greenwich Village in the early 1940s, to the unforgettably chilling stories from the period just before her death. They provide an exciting overview of the evolution of her craft through a progression of forms and styles, and add significantly to the body of her published work.
Just an Ordinary Day is a testament to how large a talent Shirley Jackson had and to the depth, breadth, and complexity of her writing. Though this remarkable literary life was cut short, Jackson clearly established a unique voice that has won a permanent place in the canon of outstanding American literature, and remains a powerful influence on generations of readers and writers.
From the hilarious first story in this treat of a collection, in which a college girl tricks the devil (horns, hoofs and all) into selling her his soul, we know we are in Jackson territory-the Jackson of the classic short story "The Lottery" and the novel The Haunting of Hill House. For Jackson devotees, as well as first-time readers, this is a feast: more than half of the 54 short stories collected here have never been published before. The circumstances that inspired the volume are appropriately bizarre. According to Jackson's children, "a carton of cobwebbed files discovered in a Vermont barn" arrived in the mail one day without notice; along with the original manuscript of her novel, the box contained six unpublished stories. Other pieces, culled from family collections, and from archives and papers at the San Francisco Public Library and the Library of Congress, appeared in print only once, in various magazines. The stories are diverse: there are tales that pillory smug, self-satisfied, small-town ladies; chilling and murderous chronicles of marriage; witty romantic comedies; and tales that reveal an eerie juxtaposition of good and evil. The devil, who can't seem to get an even break, makes several appearances. Each of Jackson's ghost stories-often centered around a child, missing or dead-is beautifully anchored in and thoroughly shaped by a particular point of view. A few pieces that qualify as humorous takes on the predicaments of modern life add a relaxed, biographical element to a virtuoso collection. (Dec.) FYI: Jackson, who died in 1965 at age 48, is poised for a literary revival: the BBC is releasing a biography in the fall, and a new film version of The Haunting of Hill House is currently in production.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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1 . one of my favorites
Posted September 23, 2010 by katie , beaumonti love this book! if you like short, bizarre, and sometimes funny stories i highly recommend this book. i have a very well worn paperback copy of this book. its been passed around to friends and family and returned to me. there arent many books that i read over and over but this is one that never gets boring. the stories are short so those of us with a short attention span can enjoy it.
November 30, 1997
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