February 2017: Shirley Jackson / Psychological
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I just finished The Bird's Nest by Shirley Jackson. This is the fifth of her novels that I have read. It is a psychological thriller about a woman with multiple personalities, written well before that became a cliche. Quite weird and disorienting. It reminded me most of Hangsaman, not instantly likable, but a book that gets under your skin.
I finished The Lottery and Other Stories. Jackson's writing is definitely disturbing and creepy. The stories are not scary in the usual horror sense and they deal with very ordinary people and situations, but you get the sense there's ugliness hiding under the surface.
I will not be reading a book by Jackson, but one to fit the theme:
Still Life With Crows / Douglas Preston
Still Life With Crows / Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
In this 4th book of the series, FBI Special Agent Pendergast shows up (while on his vacation!) to a small corn-farming community in Kansas to help solve a recent murder. He hires a high school girl, who is often in trouble herself and who just wants to get out of town as soon as she’s done high school, to be his assistant and chauffeur. The local sheriff is surprised that Pendergast thinks the killer is local… in this small town of fewer than 400 people, where everyone knows everyone! Unfortunately, the killings don’t stop at one…
I thought this was really good. I liked the change of location for this book. It was very creepy at times, in amidst all that corn!
This collection of short stories by Shirley Jackson was perfectly creepy. There wasn't an element of horror in these, with the exception of The Lottery. These were more the creepiness of everyday encounters of racism, isolationism, social anxiety etc... Jackson had a way to make everything suspenseful in the most subtle way. I really would like to read more of her short works.
The stories are "The Lottery", "Flower Garden", "Come Dance with Me in Ireland", "Men with Their Big Shoes", "Trial by Combat", "Pillar of Salt", "Like Mother Used to Make", and "Colloquy".