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The Lottery; The Haunting of Hill House; We…
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The Lottery; The Haunting of Hill House; We Have Always Lived in the…

by Shirley Jackson

Other authors: Joyce Carol Oates (Editor)

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The Haunting of Hill House
not sure about this one. wish i could give ½ stars on Goodreads because this one is a 2.5 star story for me.

there’s something about this story that’s compelling but, on the other hand, much of the dialogue is really bubble gummy and tritely saccharin. the reasons for these people being invited and actually coming to stay in an old house with a horrible reputation are trumped up at best and simply ridiculous at worst.

however, some of the scary bits are really frightening and well-written. the mystery and atmosphere Jackson creates for the Hill House throughout most of the story is very descriptive and engaging but i cannot help but feel that at least some of it was written almost as a comedy. just a little tongue-in-cheek.

the thing that surprised me a little was its resemblance to lots of elements and the basic trope of Stephen King’s The Shining. Jackson’s story was published in 1959 so it predates King’s story by 15 years or so. i wonder if it influenced/inspired him? i’ve only read about that one old creepy hotel giving him the Muse.

i’m not sure what else there is to say. this story was awful and yet appealing in equal measures for me. parts were scary (the pounding on the doors), others were comical (Mrs. Montegue), and some were truly well-written (Eleanor’s internal voiceover). i think it’s worth a read but i’m not sure i would classify this as a great ghost story even though it is often cited as one.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
this isn’t scary so much as it is a creepy peek inside the mind of a disturbed individual.

i have to admit that even though i did not like the story i found it thought-provoking and profound in a couple of different ways. Jackson’s portrayal of a young woman named Mary Katherine or “Merricat” who seems to be very simple-minded but also very imaginative feels very realistic. to put an APA diagnostic spin on it, she’s supposed to be paranoid schizophrenic, similar to Norman Bates.

BEWARE: BEYOND THIS POINT, THERE MAY BE SPOILERS
constant references to arbitrary social boundaries and rigid rules that seem to keep Merricat feeling safe and in control -living on the moon, imagining people dead, not being able to even go in Uncle Julian’s room- and sideways hints about her being a witch -creating barriers to strangers entering the property by burying things and nailing books to trees, ritualized consumption and secreting of daily “power words,” her constant companion being Jonas the cat- all eerily depict the mind of an innocent murderess.

the really brilliant turn in this story comes from another kind of “insanity” described by Jackson: that of social stigma, ostracization, and mob psychosis. the house catches on fire and the village fire fighters arrive to put out the fire but then proceed to wreck the house while chanting what i imagined to be childlike sing-songy refrains about the murders that caused Merricat’s family to become pariahs. very chilling and maybe even more disturbing than Merricat’s behavior.

the ending left me cold and wanting something more but maybe that’s the way Jackson wanted it
( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
This jam-packed volume includes Jackson's short story collection, The Lottery, the aforementioned The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and a set of other stories and sketches, some published during Jackson's lifetime and others published posthumously by her husband. Topping it all off is a chronology of Jackson's life and notes for all the collected works. I really really liked Jackson when I had previously read these two novels, I'm now a Jackson worshiper after reading her short stories. Jackson deals expertly and pointedly with issues of race, domesticity, gender, isolation, and depression. And no one does the creepiness of being an outsider in a small town or a rube in the big city quite like she does. So amazingly good.

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2014/02/shirley-jackson-novels-and-stories.html ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Feb 26, 2014 |
#1 favorite ever, but this "review" is mainly a reminder that Brittany has my copy of this. ( )
  amwsmith | Apr 1, 2013 |
I enjoyed taking my time with this great collection of Shirley Jackson's works; after hearing a radio piece about Jackson and her stories last year I finally got the 2010 Library of America volume of her novels and short stories, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. I found myself not wanting to read these straight through, so I read just a few stories or a section of a novel each afternoon and night. Creepy, wonderful stuff.

I like how Jackson's able to weave folklore, nightmarish fantasies, reaction to racial and religious bigotry (as well as just anti-"outsider"-ism), and pure shock value into her writing: combining those with well-crafted plots, memorable characters, and flashes of dark humor now and then, you get a collection of truly disturbing but absolutely riveting tales.

The volume opens with Jackson's collection "The Lottery: or, the Adventures of James Harris." The title story is Jackson's best known, and it is just as shocking as advertised. Many others in the collection are also extremely powerful: "The Daemon Lover," "Charles," "Seven Types of Ambiguity," "Of Course" and "The Tooth" were probably the ones I liked best from the bunch (plus "The Lottery").

The LOA volume also includes two of Jackson's novels, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I liked both in their own way, the former for its brilliantly-crafted sense of suspense and atmosphere, and the latter for its gothic horror and frightening twists and rambles.

But there's more. The volume is rounded out with some uncollected and unpublished stories. Of these, my favorites were "The Summer People," the incredibly funny "The Night We All Had Grippe," and "The Possibility of Evil" (which just be the one I enjoyed most of all: it's simply perfect). And then there's Jackson's "Biography of a Story," a fascinating and very amusing prepared talk she wrote about the publication and reception of "The Lottery."

If you haven't yet gotten to know Shirley Jackson's writings, and you enjoy a good creepy story, take the time and savor them. They're worth it. ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Oct 18, 2012 |
This was my first experience with Shirley Jackson, aside from reading "The Lottery" many years ago (and not remembering it particularly favorably, I suppose I should say). Yet, I devoured this book, moving from one volume into the next, and was consistently fascinated with her graceful prose and the vast range of her subjects, characters, and themes. I'd strongly recommend this full volume to any fan of contemporary American fiction, but I've written brief reviews of each of the three separate volumes below for readers who might want to pick up one of the single works. I do want to say, first, though, that each of these works is incredibly different, and a reader who dislikes one may truly enjoy another. On a last note, the further a reader reaches into the collection order-wise, the darker the stories get in a slow evelation toward themes that verge on horror, or at least psychological suspense. The transition occurs towards the end of the collection, and plays as a nice lead-in towards Jackson's longer and darker work that follows.

The Lottery and Other Stories: Each off these is a solid and graceful story, full and worthwhile in its own right. I found the ones which were a bit longer to be more to my taste, probably because they allowed more time for character development, but I'd go back to reread any of them in the end. I even found somewhat that I'd grown into "The Lottery", though I probably still hold over some prejudices on that one from highschool. Regardless, the stories here are masterpieces of short fiction, and it's not a collection that becomes tiresome from an author repeating similar structures, themes or characters. I'd see readers of both Raymond Carver's and Eudora Welty's short fiction as enjoying Jackson's very much, though I'd level the charge of repetition against both those writers to some extent--not Jackson though. These stories are packed, unique, and quietly explosive in an oddly contemporary fashion.

The Haunting of Hill House: A fascinating and gothic psychological tour, worth reading for those who enjoy either horror, ghost stories, or psychological suspense. The work is masterful and terrifying, even for me, who knew exactly what to expect subject/action-wise. It's a mainstay in the haunted house genre of works, and you can see the conventions here. Still, the book is put together in a genius fashion, and I'm still not sure quite how it sucked me in so completely. Highly recommended, even if you think you know exactly what to expect.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: this is the only volume in the collection that keeps the full book from being a five star rating for me, but it was still well worth the read, powerful and jarring in every respect. My only criticism is that this book alone seemed as if it ran a bit long, and small portions of the narrator's thoughts might have been left out without any real disadvantage to the work. I can stylistically and thematically see why Jackson felt the need for the slight repetition that occurs, but it didn't work for me as well as the stylistic moves she made in other writings. As with her other work though, this final piece in the collection is well worth the time, graceful, and incredibly jarring in a decidedly powerful and contemporary nature of revelation.

All three are highly recommended if you want a quietly jarring read. ( )
4 vote whitewavedarling | Aug 10, 2009 |
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Shirley Jacksonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
A compilation of the three books and various short stories written by Shirley Jackson. Some of the short stories have, until now, never been published in book form, others had not been published at all until this anthology was compiled.

Contents:

The Lottery; or The Adventures of James Harris
An anthology of previously published short stories tied together by one character
The Intoxicated
The Daemon Lover
Like Mother Used to Make
Trial by Combat
The Villager
My Life with R. H. Macy
The Witch
The Renegade
After You, My Dear Alphonse
Charles
Afternoon in Linen
Flower Garden
Dorothy and My Grandmother and the Sailors
Colloquy
Elizabeth
A Fine Old Firm
The Dummy
Seven Types of Ambiguity
Come Dance with Me in Ireland
Of Course
Pillar of Salt
Men with Their Big Shoes
The Tooth
Got a Letter from Jimmy
The Lottery


The Haunting of Hill House: A novel

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: A novel

Other Stories and Sketches:
Previously Uncollected stories
Janice
A Cauliflower in Her Hair
Behold the Child Among His Newborn Blisses
It Isn't The Money I Mind
The Third Baby's the Easiest
The Summer People
Island
The Night We All Had Grippe
A Visit; or, The Lovely House
This is the Life; or Journey with a Lady
One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts
Louisa, Please Come Home
The Little House
The Bus
The Possibility of Evil


Previously Unpublished stories
Portrait
The Mouse
I Know Who I Love
The Beautiful Stranger
The Rock
The Honeymoon of Mrs. Smith


Biography of a Story - Essay
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The four visitors at Hill House-- some there for knowledge, others for adventure-- are unaware that the old mansion will soon choose one of them to make its own.

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