Other Stories and Sketches

Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories (The Lottery / The Haunting of Hill House / We Have Always Lived in the Castle)

Rounding out the book of Jackson’s novels and stories is a group of previously uncollected or unpublished stories. Of most interest to me:

  • Janice – girl who tries to kill herself in the car in the garage and drolly tells everyone about it “darn near killed myself this afternoon.”
  • A Cauliflower in Her Hair – a friend of his daughter comes over to do algebra and the father flirts with her, gives her a cigarette
  • It Isn’t the Money I Mind – a man in park pulls out various clippings from his wallet and pretends he knows the celebrities
  • The Third Baby’s the Easiest – childbirth story with that great line about being asked occupation by the hospital at check-in and saying “Writer,” but the clerk saying she’ll just put down “Housewife.”
  • The Summer People – really great story about a couple who decide to stay in their vacation cabin at the lake past Labor Day for the first time, only to be met with hostility from the locals: no kerosene or groceries delivered, telephone wires cut, mail service disrupted, car sabotaged.
  • Louisa, Please Come Home – a girl runs away from home successfully and builds another life for herself. She succeeds in altering her personality and appearance so greatly that when an old friend drags her back home, her parents and sister reject her as a stranger pretending. “My mother still talks to me on the radio, once a year, on the anniversary of the day I ran away.”
  • The Possibility of Evil- an old lady writes anonymous nasty notes to her neighbors and then gets one herself
  • Honeymoon of Mrs. Smith – a woman finds herself gossiped about immediately after her marriage, the townspeople want to warn her that her husband might be the killer who gets his wives to sign over their wills to him and then kills them in the bathtub.