Welcome to the official blog of Third Place Books

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Read This Book : Shirley You Jest Edition

Dean and Halley say, "Read this book:"

Well, Jackson did it again! This beautiful strange novel leaves quite a distinct and lingering impression. In this tale of mystery and isolation we are met by two sisters cut off from the world. They live alone, happily and ferally in their dilapidated family home in an almost mundanely mystical lifestyle a la Grey Gardens. Delivering and effortless sense of unease, this captivating and understated story will leave you in a satisfying state of unknowingness.

Merricat lives with her older sister and uncle after her family is killed due to the mysterious appearance of arsenic in the sugar bowl. After her sister is acquited of the murder, she and Merricat are ostracized by the village. For a time, they are content in their isolation...until a visitor comes to stay. Strange and haunting, this novel stayed with me long after I finished it. Shirley Jackson managed to tell a story without violence, gore, or horror and yet by the end you're left chilled to the bone.


And speaking of Shirley Jackson, just now is a pretty good time to be an SJ fan (or to become one) as the queen of horror is experiencing a bit of a resurgence. And it's about time too. 

When Shirley Jackson was first introduced by The New Republic, it was as, "Shirley Jackson, the wife of Stanley Hyman... living in New Hampshire and writing a novel." Not as she should have been, "Shirley Jackson the bad*ss writer of truly haunting and creepy short stories is writing a novel and lives in New Hampshire where she has to drive Stanley Hyman (the husband of Ms. Jackson) around because she knows how to drive and he doesn't." Not that not being able to drive is a reason for ridicule.

All I'm trying to say is it's time to give this author and licensed driver the appreciation she deserves. And with a new biography, last year's novel based on her life, and a soon to be released graphic novel based on one of her most well-known short stories, we finally are! -Erin

Shirley Jackson's The Lottery continues to thrill and unsettle readers nearly seven decades after it was first published. By turns puzzling and harrowing, it raises troubling questions about conformity, tradition, and the specter of ritualized violence that haunts even the most bucolic, peaceful village. 

This graphic adaptation, published in time for Jackson's centennial, allows readers to experience The Lottery as never before, or discover it anew. The visual artist--and Jackson's grandson--Miles Hyman has crafted an eerie vision of the hamlet where the tale unfolds, its inhabitants, and the unforgettable ritual they set into motion. His four-color, meticulously detailed panels create a noirish atmosphere that adds a new dimension of dread to the original tale. Perfectly timed to the current resurgence of interest in Jackson and her work, Shirley Jackson's The Lottery: The Authorized Graphic Adaptation masterfully reimagines her iconic story with a striking visual narrative.

Shirley Jackson : A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin

Placing Jackson within an American Gothic tradition that stretches back to Hawthorne and Poe, Franklin demonstrates how her unique contribution to this genre came from her focus on "domestic horror." Almost two decades before The Feminine Mystique ignited the women's movement, Jackson stories and nonfiction chronicles were already exploring the exploitation and the desperate isolation of women, particularly married women, in American society.Franklin's portrait of Jackson gives us a way of reading Jackson and her work that threads her into the weave of the world of words, as a writer and as a woman, rather than excludes her as an anomaly (Neil Gaiman).

The increasingly prescient Jackson emerges as a ferociously talented, determined, and prodigiously creative writer in a time when it was unusual for a woman to have both a family and a profession.A mother of four and the wife of the prominentNew Yorkercritic and academic Stanley Edgar Hyman, Jackson lived a seemingly bucolic life in the New England town of North Bennington, Vermont. Yet, much like her stories, which channeled the occult while exploring the claustrophobia of marriage and motherhood, Jackson's creative ascent was haunted by a darker side. As her career progressed, her marriage became more tenuous, her anxiety mounted, and she became addicted to amphetamines and tranquilizers. In sobering detail, Franklin insightfully examines the effects of Jackson's California upbringing, in the shadow of a hypercritical mother, on her relationship with her husband, juxtaposing Hyman's infidelities, domineering behavior, and professional jealousy with his unerring admiration for Jackson's fiction, which he was convinced was among the most brilliant he had ever encountered.

Shirley by Susan Scarf Merrell 

In this darkly captivating novel, Susan Scarf Merrell uses the facts of Jackson's life as a springboard to explore the 1964 disappearance of Paula Weldon, a young Bennington College student. 

Told through the eyes of Rose Nemser the wife of a graduate student working with Jackson's husband, Bennington professor Stanley Edgar Hyman Shirley reimagines the connections between the Hymans volatile marriage and one of the era's great unsolved mysteries.

No comments:

Post a Comment