Back Shirley Jackson, “The Night We All Had Grippe”

Shirley Jackson (1916–1965)
From Shirley Jackson: Novels & Stories

Detail from “The Great Grippe Mystery,” illustration by Herbert Danska (b. 1926) for “The Night We All Had Grippe,” Harper’s, January 1952.

The current pandemic is no laughing matter. But sometimes humor can help us through even the most difficult circumstances — and the claustrophobia and inertia many of us are experiencing as we shelter in place seem particularly ripe for satire and parody.

Although she is remembered more for her horror fiction, Shirley Jackson wrote best-selling works about the adventures and perils of domestic life — midcentury stories that evoke both the earlier writings of James Thurber and the later columns of Erma Bombeck.

In one episode, Jackson recalls when she and her family were cooped up at home with a mild case of the flu — and the result was The Great Grippe Mystery. When we first presented this autobiographical tale to Story of the Week readers nine years ago, it immediately became one of our most popular selections. With so many of our readers confined at home with their families, we re-offer Jackson’s tale as a temporary salve for cabin fever.

Read “The Night We All Had Grippe” by Shirley Jackson

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