Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

Ruth Franklin (Author)
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Description

Winner of the Edgar Award in Critical/Biographical
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction

A New York Times Notable Book of 2016
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Pick of 2016
An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2016
A Time Magazine Top Nonfiction of 2016
A Seattle Times Best Book of 2016
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016
An NPR 2016's Great Read
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2016
A Nylon Best Book of 2016
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2016
A Booklist 2016 Editors' Choice

This "historically engaging and pressingly relevant" biography establishes Shirley Jackson as a towering figure in American literature and revives the life and work of a neglected master.

Product Details

Price: $35.00
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Published Date: September 27, 2016
Pages: 624
Dimensions: 6.5 X 1.5 X 9.5 inches | 2.29 pounds
ISBN: 9780871403131
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Ruth Franklin is a book critic and frequent contributor to The New Yorker, Harper's, and many other publications. A recipient of a New York Public Library Cullman Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews

Ruth Franklin is the biographer Jackson needed: she tells the story of the author in a way that made me want to reread every word Jackson ever wrote.--Neil Gaiman
Ruth Franklin has written the ideal biography of a figure long and unjustly neglected in the history of twentieth-century American literature. By restoring Shirley Jackson to her proper stature as one of our great writers, Franklin has in a stroke revised the canon.--James Atlas, author of Bellow: A Biography
With her account of an emblematically American literary life, Ruth Franklin reminds us that her subject was far more than the writer of classy ghost stories. On the contrary, Shirley Jackson was the harbinger of profound upheavals both societal and literary. This is a brilliant biography on every level, but it is especially astute on Jackson's ground- and genre-breaking work, which I will now reread immediately.--Tom Bissell, author of Apostle
With this welcome new biography Franklin makes a thoughtful and persuasive case for Jackson as a serious and accomplished literary artist. . . . [Franklin] sees Jackson not as an oddball, one-off writer of horror tales and ghost stories but as someone belonging to the great tradition of Hawthorne, Poe and James, writers preoccupied, as she was, with inner evil in the human soul.--Charles McGrath
Franklin is a conscientious, lucid biographer, and her book is never less than engaging.--Blake Bailey
Ruth Franklin's sympathetic and masterful biography both uncovers Jackson's secret and haunting life and repositions her as a major artist whose fiction so uncannily channeled women's nightmares and contradictions that it is 'nothing less than the secret history of American women of her era.'--Elaine Showalter
Franklin's research is wide and deep, drawing on Jackson's published and unpublished writings including correspondence and diaries, as well as interviews....Franklin has shown the interplay between the life, the work, and the times with real skill and insight, making this fine book a real contribution not only to biography, but to mid-20th-century women's history.--Katherine A. Powers
Masterful...Taut, insightful, and thrilling, in ways that haunt, not quite as ghost story, but as a tale of a woman who strains against the binds of marriage, of domesticity, and suffers for it in a way that is of her time as a 1950s homemaker, and in a way that speaks to what it means to be a writer, an artist, and a woman even now.--Nina MacLaughlin
A Shirley Jackson biography seems especially timely today, even though Jackson, as with many of her stories, remains somewhat mythically timeless....Franklin's is both broader in scope and more measured in its analysis....[A] masterful account.--Jane Hu
Franklin's biography takes us beyond the chilling stories that made Shirley Jackson's name into the dilemmas of a woman writer in the 1950s and '60s, struggling to make a career between the pressures of childcare, domesticity, and her own demons. It's a very modern story, and a terrific read.--Mary Beard, author of SPQR
A perfect marriage of biographer and subject: Ruth Franklin's portrait of Shirley Jackson restores to her rightful place a writer of considerable significance, and draws a rich intellectual portrait of the age.--Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
A biography that is both historically engaging and pressingly relevant, Ruth Franklin's absorbing book not only feelingly creates a portrait of Shirley Jackson the writer but also provides a stirring sense of what it was like to navigate (and sometimes circumvent) the strictures of American society as a wife, mother, artist, and woman.--Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings
Comprehensive...Jackson's lifelong interest in rituals, witchcraft, charms and hexes were, Franklin convincingly maintains, metaphors for exploring power and disempowerment...Franklin situates Jackson's conflicted relationship with coercive postwar US domesticity within the context that would give rise in 1963 to Betty Friedan's attack on 'the feminine mystique'...[A] sympathetic and fair-minded biography.--Sarah Churchwell
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life deftly narrates the influences, experiences and reputation of the author of the famously enduring story 'The Lottery.' As a history of the literary culture of the 1940s and '50s, it teases out the daily lives of people who displayed James Joyce's 'Ulysses, ' Wilhelm Reich's 'The Function of the Orgasm' and James George Frazer's 'The Golden Bough' on their coffee tables. And as a chronicle of American life in the Eisenhower era, it reminds us of a time when people with too many books could be considered subversive...Much of Jackson's writing is a weird, rich brew, and Franklin captures its savor.--Seth Lerer
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life . . . lifts its subject out of the genre ghetto and makes a convincing case that Jackson was a courageous woman in a male-dominated field whose themes resonate strongly today.--Jeff Baker