Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson (2016-10-06) Hardcover – January 1, 1712
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"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Each tale here is, indeed, tinged with shadow and the sinister. Psychological horror without monsters, but the occasional spirit makes an appearance.
Each story hold up and reads quickly, but you can savor each, as well. I found myself re-reading passages and entire stories to feel a warm...chill(?) settle in, if that makes sense.
Since I once read a huge book of Ms. Jackson's stories, I had actually already read all of the ones in this book, but didn't remember what happened in all of them. (One of the "blessings" of getting older--you don't always remember how stories and TV show episodes ended.) I think my absolute favorite one in this collection is about the girl who ran away from home right before her sister was getting married. She didn't go very far, and her family was still searching for her years later, when she ran into someone from her hometown . . . .
Most of these stories I'd read in other Jackson collections at some point, but years ago, so they were mostly like reading them for the first time. The foreward by Ottessa Moshfegh is perfectly suited to the tone & tenor of these stories. There's 17 stories in the collection, & the curator of the collection really knows how to bend the arc of narrative with the arrangement of the pieces. It opens & closes with a banger -- The Possibility of Evil (with a shiveringly wicked closing line) & The Summer People, (also with a hell of a last line) that made me creeped out at the thought of my parents (you guessed it...in a cabin by the lake in New England.) The stories in the middle are evenly paced and alternate between the mildly unnerving (Louisa Please Come Home) to the downright creepy (Jack the Ripper.) For me, however, the unsung gem of this collection is The Beautiful Stranger, which is poignant in the helplessness the reader feels at the ending -- particularly so if you've ever had a mean husband & wished that a kind one would just up and take his place. In a way, I feel like this collection of Jackson's work bears a lot in common with Rod Serling's writing for The Twilight Zone -- I could easily envision most of these stories as an episode. I recently finished Jackson's biography, and this was a great way to follow up.
Top reviews from other countries
Dark Tales is an extension of her cannon. She has the perfect ability to find the unnerving in everyday experiences, with a tone between 1950s Americana and medieval folklore.