“The Lottery” • “The Daemon Lover” • Life Among the Savages • The Haunting of Hill House • We Have Always Lived in the Castle
“Jackson is one of American fiction’s impossible presences, too material to be called a phantom in literature’s house, too in-print to be ‘rediscovered,’ yet hidden in plain sight. She’s both perpetually underrated and persistently mischaracterized as a writer of upscale horror, when in truth a slim minority of her works had any element of the supernatural. . . . Sterling in her craft, Jackson is prized by the writers who read her, yet it would be self-congratulatory to claim her as a writer’s writer. Rather, Shirley Jackson has thrived, at publication and since, as a reader’s writer.”—Jonathan Lethem
“Ten years ago, a reviewer sneered at the idea of Shirley Jackson having a place in the American literary canon. In the current literary landscape, such a reaction is no longer conceivable. Indeed, it would seem crazy to leave her out.”—Ruth Franklin
“The books that have profoundly scared me when I read them—made me want to sleep with the light on, made the neck hairs prickle and the goose bumps march, are few: Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, Stephen King’s It and Salem’s Lot and The Shining all scared me silly, and transformed the night into a most dangerous place. But Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House beats them all: a maleficent house, real human protagonists, everything half-seen or happening in the dark. It scared me as a teenager and it haunts me still, as does Eleanor, the girl who comes to stay.”—Neil Gaiman
The Haunting of Hill HouseShirley Jackson
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.