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06 December 2012

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Thanks for hosting this CR. It was the impetus I needed to finally read The Haunting of Hill House.

I am now 200 pages in to the Jackson biography by Oppenheimer which I am enjoying, although it can sometimes be a little hyperbolic. I just want to note that while Shirley was not always sympathetic (given the right set of circumstances, she might have tossed the first stone in the Lottery), most of what I am reading about Stanley is just pissing me off and I am oh so happy that he is now known, if he is known at all, as Shirley Jackson’s husband.

Hmmmm. Now I'm curious to know what's up with Stanley. I may have to put the biography on my list.

Ruthiella,
Thank you for participating. I love talking Shirley.
Yeah, the bio had its issues, but was still very, very interesting. Can't say Stanley was my favorite character throughout--but I get this feeling that they were each a challenge in their own way.

Marija,
Ruthiella may tell you differently--but I would definitely, definitely read the bio. Wild stuff.

Yea but. I would have LOVED to been a fly on the wall at some of Shirley and Stanley's frequent parties. Yowza. It reminded me that I need to watch the movie Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Am I the only one who sees a possible connection? (I don't know, I could be totally off the wall here.) Stanley may not have been the ideal husband but they must have known what the other needed. (OR something.) OK, I won't defend him.

Thanks for the link - I spotted 'Shirley Jackson' in the title of your post, on MyPorch's blog roll, and wish I'd popped by earlier in the week - I love SJ. The first book I read by her was We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which I really love, but I can't believe she also wrote books so different as her 'nonfiction' (hmm...) LATS and Raising Demons, which are now among my favourite books. I love these sorts of probably-quite-fictionalised memoirs - c.f. also Diary of a Provincial Lady or Monica Dickens' One Pair of Hands. Both these and Jackson's gothicky stories are about houses and boundaries, really, aren't they? Just sometimes that emerges as a claustrophobic atmosphere, and sometimes as domestic safety.

A novel which isn't often mentioned which I thought fascinating is The Bird's Nest - so ahead of its time when it comes to multiple personality disorder (although not entirely scientifically accurate, of course.)

Oh, I would definitely recommend the bio to anyone who wants to know more about S.J. I guess it is normal for a biographer to be enamored of their subject(s), right? I haven't read that many biographies.

Yes, Shirley and Stanely did have a twisted yet perfect for each other relationship (not unlike Martha and George)...and I know this was the 40's and 50's, but he just seemed so arrogant and such a pig sometimes. I just want to (postumously) take him down a peg.

I think her lesser know novels like The Bird's Nest are out of print and my library does not have them...not even in storage. Maybe someday if I run across one in a used book store...

Oh, Care,
I couldn't agree more. I would have LOVED to be a fly on the wall at Shirley's house anytime. I think she had her problems but I think she really enjoyed her literary and intellectual life with Stanley and their friends, and also the more practical side of her life looking after four kids. She had a lot of unhealthy habits and unhappiness, too, I know, but from reading her bio I get the sense what she really would have disliked was a dull, staid life. And she certainly didn't have that.
Yeah, Stanley. Mainly I couldn't believe how helpless he was (and seemed glad to be). It's a good reminder to raise CRjr. to sharpen his own damn pencils.

Simon,
I really enjoyed your review. You've got to be one of the few males in the last twenty years to read Jackson's NF, don't you think? Or am I unfairly stereotyping male readers? (And thanks for the other NF titles, BTW.)
Now I must look into The Bird's Nest--thank you for that. Is there much around that's scientifically accurate on MPD? Have you read Debbie Nathan's "Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case"? Now there's a disturbing read.

Ruthiella,
Actually, what I really wish is that someone would write a new bio of SJ. Do you think her kids would cooperate with that? I feel like there's just so much more that could be explored there.

Yeah, Stanley. I can just imagine how she felt meeting him--probably ecstatic about how different he was, and how interesting--but reading certain things about him made me just unable to really like him very much. He made me feel kind of disappointed--just the way learning about some of Ray Bradbury's unkindnesses to his wife made me feel sad too.

That obituary was annoying.

One good thing about Oppenheimer's biography of SJ was that she got to talk to a lot of contemporaries who have since died.

I wish one of the kids (I'm thinking Sally!) would do a memoir.

CR - I would say that I am, but Thomas at My Porch read Life Among the Savages a few months back! It probably is quite unusual for a 20-something man to love early 20th century novels/NF about being a mother, but... yeah, I love them!

I haven't read much about MPD, but it is fascinating and quite disturbing - I was just amazed that SJ managed to write about it at all, since it wasn't even recognised as a condition at that point.

Simon,
Of course, how could I forget Thomas? I also owe Thomas for turning me on to Anita Brookner--yet another author I can't imagine a whole lot of men read.
Have you read Jean Kerr? "Please Don't Eat the Daisies"? Good stuff, that.

Thanks for hosting another awesome Book Menage!

Only just seen your reply - I have Please Don't Eat the Daisies, after trying to find more things like Savages, and loved it!

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