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Just an Ordinary Day: The Uncollected…

Just an Ordinary Day: The Uncollected Stories of Shirley Jackson (1996)

by Shirley Jackson

Other authors: Laurence Jackson Hyman (Editor), Sarah Hyman Stewart (Editor)

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441833,780 (4.03)25



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Unlike The Lottery where the stories collected followed a distinct theme, Just an Ordinary Day has little to unite the tales within. The collection is made up half of unpublished stories, and half of uncollected stories, thus becoming a best of the obscure of Shirley Jackson. Do not balk at the fact that stories have scarcely seen the light of day - the fact they hadn't been collected until recently is in some ways a travesty.

The stories consist of a whole slew of genres. There are the classic family stories, including one hilarious one about how to deal with unruly Cub Scouts - there are supernatural stories, horror stories, and simply unsettling stories of day to day life. One of the interesting facets of the book is the fact that the same themes and characters pop up time and time again. I am also rather pleased to say that at one point two versions of the same story were put side by side, thus allowing a look into how Shirley Jackson revised her stories and perfected them over time.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Shirley Jackson's writing, or indeed, anyone who writes and treasures short stories. This is a very interesting look into the writing of one who is a truly shining example of that medium. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Book Description:
Acclaimed in her own time for her short story “The Lottery” and her novel The Haunting of Hill House—classics ranking with the work of Edgar Allan Poe—Shirley Jackson blazed a path for contemporary writers with her explorations of evil, madness, and cruelty. Soon after her untimely death in 1965, Jackson’s children discovered a treasure trove of previously unpublished and uncollected stories, many of which are brought together in this remarkable collection. Here are tales of torment, psychological aberration, and the macabre, as well as those that display her lighter touch with humorous scenes of domestic life. Reflecting the range and complexity of Jackson’s talent, Just an Ordinary Day reaffirms her enduring influence and celebrates her singular voice, rich with magic and resonance.
My Review:
Short Stories are not my favorite readings. Some of these stories are interesting but some fell flat for me. I think I enjoyed Part 2 the best. They contained the stories that were published in magazines. I've read The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House and really enjoyed those stories the best. I suggest reading those first and if you like her writing, then try some of her short stories. ( )
  EadieB | Oct 8, 2017 |
Almost every story was 5 stars for me. A great mix of darkness and wit - at times I laughed out loud, a few caused goosebumps, many to ponder. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Dec 26, 2016 |
A good range of stories by Jackson, including some very amusing ones, some good and creepy ones, and a few that didn't quite feel up to snuff (which probably explains why they went unpublished, frankly). Good, provocative writing, if you like Jackson's no-holds-barred style. ( )
  JBD1 | Mar 26, 2015 |
This collection has a few new (to me) pleasures that almost hit the highs of The Tooth or The Daemon Lover (from The Lottery and Other Stories). Talk about women on the verge of a nervous breakdown—Jackson has that locked, at least for the mid-20th century garden-variety middle class lady type-woman. Nightmare, The Mystery of the Murdered Bride, Before Autumn, are all good variations on that theme, and up there with Charlotte Perkins Gilman in terms of making the larger social connection. The Very Strange House Next Door and My Uncle in the Garden are macabre and fun, in an Addams Family sort of way. But there’s also a lot of filler. And other stuff that’s about 2/3 good. And somehow, though I’m disappointed, I’m not surprised.

Because Jackson is a writer who, try as I might to make her come out differently, keeps adding up to less than the sum of her parts. She is so jaw-droppingly good at what she IS good at that I keep wondering each time I re-read her (which I do enjoy, and will continue to do, at least with a handful of her stories) why she doesn’t get me all the way there. And I’m talking about the stories I consider the best, not the whole very mixed bag of her stories taken together. I feel the same way about Patricia Highsmith. It’s not because of the genre thing. I don’t need Graham Greene to be Joseph Conrad in order to fully enjoy and admire what he does, nor do I need Ursula Le Guin to be Virginia Woolf (heaven forbid). But Shirley Jackson is not Flannery O’Connor, and I guess I want her to be. I think this has more to do with a vision of the world that never gets beyond a(n admittedly engaging and beautifully described) fascination with the perverse, and (even in The Lottery, perhaps) never quite manages to connect perversity to the timeless zone from which all profound experience emerges. When technically, at the level of sentences and dialogue anyway, Jackson can write as well as the greats when she’s at her best. So that's too bad, but still -- great bedtime reading. ( )
3 vote CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shirley Jacksonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hyman, Laurence JacksonEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stewart, Sarah HymanEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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He was taller than I had imagined him.
Introduction: Several years ago, a carton of cobwebbed files discovered in a Vermont barn more than a quarter century after our mother's death, arrived without notice in the mail.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553378333, Paperback)

The late Shirley Jackson (1919-65) is the author of the classic short story, "The Lottery," a dark, unforgettable tale of the unthinking and murderous customs of a small New England town. She is also the author of several American Gothic novels, such as We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House. Her atmospheric stories explore themes of psychological turmoil, isolation, and the inequity of fate. Just an Ordinary Day is a posthumous collection of 54 short stories (many of which have never been published), edited and introduced by two of Jackson's children. Jackson penned many of the stories in this volume for the popular press, for titles ranging from Fantasy and Science Fiction and The New Yorker to women's magazines such as Charm and Good Housekeeping. The disparity of the intended audience and the divergent styles result in an uneven collection of short stories, some that are outstanding and will be much appreciated by the reading public, others that hold interest only to the die-hard fan or chronicler of Jackson's work.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Fifty-odd stories, half of them never published before. The new lot includes a story on a girl who gets the devil to sell her his soul. Jackson (1919-1965) wrote The Haunting of Hill House.

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