Top critical review
Probably better to read as a physical book than on a Kindle
Reviewed in the United States on May 4, 2021
It took me awhile to get through this book. Not that it's bad, it's actually a good read. I just feel that it requires more attentiveness from me. This is a collection of unfinished and/or unpublished stories, musings and lectures. It feels fragmented and abrupt at times, but they are still as greatly written as her published and well-known works. Sometimes it feels like dreaming. The stories aren't really horror, but more like thoughts or sociological commentary. For example, there are several stories of people just talking, but Shirley manages to make it tense, awkward, or frightening.
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.