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The Sunnier Side and Other Stories (1950)

de Charles Jackson

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A masterful collection of short stories exposing the seamy undercurrents of small-town American life from Charles Jackson, celebrated author of The Lost Weekend. A selection of Jackson's finest tales, The Sunnier Side and Other Stories explores the trials of adolescence in America during the tumultuous years of the early twentieth century. Set in the town of Arcadia in upstate New York, the stories in this collection address the unspoken issues--homosexuality, masturbation, alcoholism, to name a few--lurking just beneath the surface of the small-town ideal. The Sunnier Side showcases Jackson at the height of his storytelling powers, reaffirming his reputation as a boundary-pushing, irreverent writer years ahead of his time.… (més)
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In this short story collection Charles Jackson portrays small town life, in Arcadia, New York, including the darker side. Class distinction, corrosive gossip, repressed sexuality and deep concern about the opinions of others are all represented. Don Birnam, the alcoholic in Jackson’s first novel, “The Lost Weekend,” is represented as a boy in this collection.

In “A Night Visitor” the black sheep of a family drops in, much to their embarrassment. The story feels unfinished though. In “The Break” a boy helps capture an escaped convict, and carries out his first betrayal in the process. In “The Benighted Savage” social forces, and a clueless father, make a boy think that masturbation will be the end of him. ”You’ll be stunted, finished, an idiot in the crazy house, with ruined health, dead!”

A boy enjoys the festive atmosphere surrounding America’s entry into WWI in “How War Came to Arcadia, N.Y.”. “I was enjoying the war, I was determined to get the most out of it.” Although unrelated to the war, he also has fun discovering the meaning of words like “whore” in the dictionary: “It was a wonderful moment.”

Jackson cared about literature. “In real life we are something less than our best self, the best self that is brought out, widened, and deepened, by literature.” He also offers some truths about writing in the title story, which takes the form of a letter to a fan: “The writer’s job and life are a solitary one, no one can help him, all the king’s horses cannot drag him to his typewriter unless he goes there by himself with something of his own.”

Apparently borrowing heavily from his childhood, Jackson created his own version in Arcadia in “The Sunnier Side,” originally published in 1950. In addition to the previously mentioned taboo subjects, alcoholism, self-hatred, promiscuity and infidelity, and men with three children that claim to have never seen their wife naked are all represented here. Jackson wasn’t afraid to write about issues that most writers wouldn’t touch. ( )
  Hagelstein | Jul 6, 2013 |
afegit per booksaplenty1949 | editaAmerican Literary Realism, John W. Crowley (Web de pagament) (Jun 7, 2021)
 

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A masterful collection of short stories exposing the seamy undercurrents of small-town American life from Charles Jackson, celebrated author of The Lost Weekend. A selection of Jackson's finest tales, The Sunnier Side and Other Stories explores the trials of adolescence in America during the tumultuous years of the early twentieth century. Set in the town of Arcadia in upstate New York, the stories in this collection address the unspoken issues--homosexuality, masturbation, alcoholism, to name a few--lurking just beneath the surface of the small-town ideal. The Sunnier Side showcases Jackson at the height of his storytelling powers, reaffirming his reputation as a boundary-pushing, irreverent writer years ahead of his time.

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