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Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 4, 2015
"The Strawberry Hearts Diner" by Carolyn Brown
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“Let us now—at last—celebrate dangerous women writers: how cheering to see justice done with [this collection of] Shirley Jackson’s heretofore unpublished works—uniquely unsettling stories and ruthlessly barbed essays on domestic life.”—Vanity Fair
“[Let Me Tell You] feels like an uncanny dollhouse: Everything perfectly rendered, but something deliciously not quite right.”—NPR
“There are . . . times in reading [Jackson’s] accounts of desperate women in their thirties slowly going crazy that she seems an American Jean Rhys, other times when she rivals even Flannery O’Connor in her cool depictions of inhumanity and insidious cruelty, and still others when she matches Philip K. Dick at his most hallucinatory. At her best, though, she’s just incomparable.”—The Washington Post
“[Let Me Tell You] offers insights into the vagaries of [Jackson’s] mind, which was ruminant and generous, accommodating such diverse figures as Dr. Seuss and Samuel Richardson.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“The best pieces clutch your throat, gently at first, and then with growing strength. . . . The strongest pieces wallop, and the whole collection has a timelessness.”—The Boston Globe
“[Jackson’s] writing, both fiction and nonfiction, has such enduring power—she brings out the darkness in life, the poltergeists shut into everyone’s basement, and offers them up, bringing wit and even joy to the examination. . . . Fans who want a full portrait of the writer will find this anthology revealing and satisfying.”—USA Today
“[Let Me Tell You] is the closest we can get to sitting down and having a conversation with . . . one of the most original voices of her generation.”—The Huffington Post
“A master of uncanny suspense, [Shirley] Jackson wrote sentences that crept up on the reader, knife in hand. Throughout these previously unpublished pieces, whether short stories about Main Street murders or Jackson’s description of her own eerie writing process (sleepwalking and ghosts helped), the author’s mordant wit and nuanced prose are often shiver-inducing.”—New York
“A sort of road map leading one to the very spot where so many of Jackson’s imaginings originated.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“[Shirley Jackson is] the queen of American gothic. . . . Her horror is domestic; it takes place in the familiar world of the kitchen, the family, and known and loved objects. It unsettles too much to be read comfortably. When you finish a story, it follows you afterward and sinks into the walls of your own home and routine.”—The New Republic
“Critics often write as if there were two Shirley Jacksons: one, the agoraphobic addict who penned weird tales like The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle; the other, the humorous chronicler of the ups and downs of family life in Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons. The new collection of previously unpublished Jackson material, Let Me Tell You, shows them to be emphatically the same woman. If Jackson’s horror was often built around a warped domesticity, her domestic humor had glimmers of terror in it too.”—Chicago Tribune
“Nobody was a more astute chronicler of the post-war crisis of the female mind in America than Jackson. . . . Let Me Tell You is a welcome addition to the reissues of Jackson’s novels.”—The Millions
“The vast range of styles contained in Let Me Tell You, not to mention the range of genres, offers the reader an invigorating and unprecedented peek into the multifarious interests and intellect of one of the greatest writers in American literature.”—Electric Literature
“[Let Me Tell You allows] Shirley Jackson to claim her rightful position as one of the most important writers, gothic or otherwise, of the twentieth century.”—The Independent (U.K.)
“Whether it is your first encounter with this wholly original writer since reading ‘The Lottery’ in middle school or you are thrilled to discover this ‘new’ output from a writer you’ve long admired, this collection is a delight.”—BookPage
“Shirley Jackson has been a powerhouse in American fiction ever since her haunting 1948 short story ‘The Lottery,’ which showcased her talent for turning the quotidian into something eerie and unnerving. . . . From short stories to comic essays to drawings, Jackson’s full range is on display, yet her wit and sharp examination of social norms are present throughout.”—The Millions
“Some things never change: Jackson’s wry observations about keeping house in the 1950s (collected here along with essays and stories) are as spot-on today as they were when she wrote them.”—Good Housekeeping
“Shirley Jackson is made of brilliance and I’d read everything of hers a million times. . . . A must for the Shirley Jackson addict.”—Omnivoracious
“There’s a wealth of horror to be found in the domestic, and no writer recognised this more keenly than Jackson herself. . . . These stories are so readable and real that, when it arrives, the sting in the tail sends a shudder down your spine.”—The National (UAE)
“With the to-the-second pacing of a Twilight Zone episode, . . . [Jackson’s] stories never fail to deliver. . . . It doesn’t get much better than this.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Jackson, an inspiration to writers from Stephen King to Joyce Carol Oates, dared to look on the dark side and imagine the unimaginable, as demonstrated in this volume of her uncollected and unpublished work. . . . A multifaceted portrait of the artist as wife, mother, commentator on the comfortable middle class, and pioneer who explored the world of inexplicable, occasionally frightening phenomena.”—Publishers Weekly
“Remember the chilling excitement of reading Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’ for the first time? You’ll have that same experience over and over again with this new collection.”—Library Journal
About the Author
Laurence Jackson Hyman, the eldest child of Shirley Jackson and Stanley Edgar Hyman, has spent most of his professional life in publishing: as writer, photographer, editor, art director, and publisher. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of dozens of books and monographs.
Sarah Hyman DeWitt is the third child of Shirley Jackson and Stanley Edgar Hyman. She is a performer, folksinger, and artist.
Ruth Franklin is a book critic and the author of A Thousand Darknesses, which was a finalist for the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. She has written for many publications, including The New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, Bookforum, and Granta. She is at work on a biography of Shirley Jackson.
- Publisher : Random House; 1st edition (August 4, 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0812997662
- ISBN-13 : 978-0812997668
- Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.6 x 1.42 x 9.51 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #287,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As an ardent reader of Miss Jackson's (for decades), I've been delighted by these posthumous offerings and look forward to more. There is no writer, past or present, who so masterfully captured the hilarity of raising children and also plumbed the depths of madness, science fiction, and even first-rate ghost stories. Miss Jackson stands alone amongst 20th Century writers and I predict her works will continue to be read long after the 'big name, best-selling' authors of her era have been utterly forgotten.
So, yes, buy this book! But if you've not already exhausted the many other short story collections and novels she published in her lifetime, RUN -don't walk- to read them all! Miss Jackson's was as unique a talent as Flannery O'Connor's; as humorous / observant as Mark Twain's; but, above all, her tremendous gift, her superb craftsmanship was her own. There was never before anyone like her and I doubt there'll ever be.
Shirley Jackson's humor is unparalleled in any modern stories I have read. It's so subtle and smart. I think some writers have tried to bring the humor of being a wife and mother to their stories but they sacrifice subtlety in favor of in your face "realness" (see Honest Toddler or Scary Mommy). I see Jackson's influence in some current writers like Helen Ellis, but I wish it was more prevalent. Jackson cracks me up and inspires me. Here are 2 of my favorite examples:
from The Ghosts of Loiret:
"I have never liked the theory that poltergeists only come into houses where there are children, because I think it is simply too much for any one house to have poltergeists and children..."
from How I Write:
"One of the nicest things about being a writer is that nothing ever gets wasted. It's a little like the frugal housewife who carefully tucks away al the odds and ends of string beans and cold bacon and serves them up magnificently in a fancy casserole dish. A winter who is serious and economical can store away small fragments of ideas and events and conversations, and even facial expressions and mannerisms, and us them all someday."
Next up in my Shirley Jackson readings is Ruth Franklin's biography, A Rather Haunted Life.
In Mrs. Spencer and the Oberons, the arrival of a new, ordinary family to the main character's town is suspenseful. And The Man in the Woods is like you're going-with-the-flow in a dream and after waking up you realize it was off. These are my favorites so far.
The fourth part was a peak into Shirley's life as a mother and wife. Washing the dishes multiple times a day, day after day; arguing with the children and her husband about what families argue about; trying to figure out who froze the water hose, and then who took the scissors, and why the scissors weren't returned, etc. It made me think a lot about my family and growing up.
Shirley Jackson is a new favorite and I still enjoy her writing, but I feel like this book might be better off read physically and not through Kindle.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in Canada on March 14, 2021