LET ME TELL YOU, new collection of unpublished Shirley Jackson Stories coming August 4

From the renowned and beloved author of “The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House comes a new volume of mostly unpublished and uncollected stories, essays, and other writing.

“Shirley Jackson’s stories are among the most terrifying ever written.”Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch
“Shirley Jackson is unparalleled as a leader in the field of beautifully written, quiet, cumulative shudders.”Dorothy Parker, Esquire
 
I have never liked the theory that poltergeists only come into houses where there are children, because I think it is simply too much for any one house to have poltergeists and children.—Shirley Jackson
 
As the above quotation shows, Shirley Jackson wrote with a rare combination of deadpan humor, ruthless insight, and delight in the terrifying. A mother of four and a prolific writer of fiction, personal essays, novels and short stories, Jackson’s keen observations of both daily life and the unexplainable are by turns often dramatic, blackly humorous, and completely unique. Since her death on August 8, 1965, her significance in twentieth-century American literature has only grown.  Unlike that of many of her contemporaries, her writing has never seemed dated, but rather it feels as fresh and timeless. Over the past decades, critics and scholars have elevated her reputation as one of America’s most original writers, and an icon of feminist thinking, while generations of high school students, after reading “The Lottery” in wonder and horror, have placed Jackson on their “favorite writers” list.
 
LET ME TELL YOU (Random House hardcover and e-book releasing August 4) is a major collection bringing together her uniquely eerie short stories, frank and inspiring lectures on writing, comic essays about her family, as well as personal letters and drawings. The collection was edited by two of Jackson’s children, Laurence Jackson Hyman and Sarah Hyman DeWitt, who over several years, sifted through their mother’s vast (and messy) archives at the Library of Congress, sometimes even piecing together several uncollated or unpaginated manuscript pages. 
 
Jackson’s topics include dinner parties and bridge, household budgets and the commute home, to children’s games and neighborly gossip; however, these familiar subjects are also her most subversive. Her unique blend of humor and terror exposes the real challenges of marriage, parenting, and communitythe pressure of social norms, and the complicated nature of love, the strong hold of egos, and the constant lack of time and space. This collection is a wonderful new opportunity to see Jackson’s radically different modes of writing side by side. Together, they show her to be a magnificent storyteller, sharp, sly and with a voice all her own.
 
LET ME TELL YOU includes 56 works: 30 short stories, 16 essays and reviews (including 5 on the craft of writing), and 10 pieces of humor on the family. Only 15 have been previously published: “Paranoia,” “The Man in the Woods,” and “It Isn’t the Money I Mind” in the New Yorker;“Mrs. Spencer
 
 
and the Oberons” in Tin House; “The Lie” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” in McSweeney’s; “Let Me Tell You” in Tin House’s Open Bar; “Bulletin” in Fantasy & Science Fiction; “Root of Evil” in
 
 
Fantastic; “Clowns” in Vogue; “Good Old House” in Women’s Day; “In Praise of Dinner Table Silence,” “Questions I Wish I’d Never Asked,” and “What I Want to Know Is, What Do Other People Cook With?” in Good Housekeeping; and “How to Enjoy a Family Quarrel” in McCall’s.
 
With a Foreword by renowned literary critic and Jackson biographer, Ruth Franklin, LET ME TELL YOU is a comprehensive and much anticipated collection by a writer who fifty years after her death continues to show us both the possibilities of fiction and the darker sides of American life.
 
This publication also kicks off a series of events commemorating the life and work of Shirley Jackson. August 8, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of her death, and 2016 will mark the centenary of her birth.  Also in 2016 Ruth Franklin’s biography will be published.  LET ME TELL YOUprovides many opportunities to reflect on Jackson’s achievements as a writer, as well as to relish these newly discovered works.
 
 
Advance Praise
 
“A master of uncanny suspense, Jackson wrote sentences that crept up on the reader, knife in hand. Throughout these previously unpublished pieces, whether short stories about Main Street murders or Jackson’s description of her own eerie writing process (sleepwalking and ghosts helped), the author’s mordant wit and nuanced prose are often shiver-inducing.”—New York magazine
 
“Jackson’s wry observations about keeping house in the 1950’s (collected here along with essays, letters and stories) are as spot-on today as they were when she wrote them.”—Good Housekeeping
 
“Unpublished and uncollected work by the celebrated author of The Haunting of Hill House (1959) and other neo-Gothic chillers. It’s fitting that this gathering by Jackson, who died half a century ago, should open with a perfectly crafted little story called ‘Paranoia.’ Unfolding with the to-the-second pacing of a Twilight Zone episode. . . . [H]er stories never fail to deliver. For fans of midcentury suspense, it doesn’t get much better than this.”–Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
Jackson, an inspiration to writers from Stephen King to Joyce Carol Oates, dared to look on the dark side and imagine the unimaginable, as demonstrated in this volume of her uncollected and unpublished work. . . .  [A] multifaceted portrait of the artist as wife, mother, commentator on the comfortable middle class, and pioneer.  . . . Line drawings, quotations, and a Foreword by biographer Ruth Franklin enhance this reminder of why Jackson’s reputation flourishes 50 years after her death.”–Publishers Weekly
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