Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings

by Shirley Jackson

Paperback, 2016




Random House Trade Paperbacks (2016), 448 pages


"As we approach the centenary of [Jackson's] birth comes this astonishing compilation of fifty-six pieces--more than forty of which have never been published before. Two of Jackson's children co-edited this volume, culling through the vast archives of their mothers paper's at the Library of Congress, selecting only the very best for inclusion"--Dust jacket flap.

User reviews

LibraryThing member TooBusyReading
Although I hadn't ready very much of Shirley Jackson's works, I've enjoyed what I have read, especially We Have Always Lived in the Castle, so I was eager to try this collection of “New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings.”

It is being published 50 years after her death, so, of course, she had no say in what was included.

There is some very good stuff in here. A little bit of it is creepy, a little bit is funny, much of it is just day-to-day living. There is some haunting – I especially appreciated “Good Old House.” I enjoyed her anthropomorphic kitchen utensils.

Given that, there is material I think should have been left out. I feel like I've snooped in her private file cabinet and read some of the things that she kept as “maybe I can work on this later.”

Quite a bit of the material is dated, and especially the male/female roles she took as normal. Not unsurprising for her time and age, but some of it doesn't age well. There was also quite a bit about her personal family, her seeming discontent with her self-assigned role in life. I knew nothing of her as an author, and now that I have looked into her life just a bit because of reading this book, some of the writing is more poignant and what is funny on the surface has a deeper sorrow underneath.

The stick figure drawings are wonderful.

For fans of Shirley Jackson, I do recommend this collection of writings, but I think perhaps more judicious editing would have made it better.

I was given an advance reader's copy of this book for review.
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LibraryThing member amanda4242
Amazing! I had only read The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and (of course) "The Lottery" before picking up this volume, so I was happily surprised to find that her prodigious talent carried over into other genres. I will definitely be reading more of her work.
LibraryThing member AnnieHidalgo
I expected to like this a lot more than I did. The insight into Jackson's domestic life was interesting, and gives me hope that my own writing career will one day progress. However, I know and love Jackson primarily as the writer of The Haunting of Hill House, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and the volume is slim on the haunting stories for which she is now loved. The latter half of the book made me feel that I was reading an extended authorial version of a People magazine spread - "Writers! They're just like us!" She had kids! She argued with them about teenage things! She wished she felt as important as her husband! - actually that last one was surprising, since she is certainly more well known now. Apparently, he was sort of a Stanley Fish type in his day - a well-known book critic. I'll probably dip into this book more as the years go by, but like many posthumous collections, most of the stories in this book are perhaps most enthralling (and publishable) now, precisely because the creator is no longer with us.… (more)
LibraryThing member JBD1
As might be expected given what it is (unpublished/uncollected/unfinished/&c.), something of an uneven collection, but if you're a Jackson fan, you'll likely want to read it. Some great humor, a bit of creepiness here and there, and a great deal of Jackson's trademark wit.

[Note: this review will be marked as LTER, but I never received that copy and found the book elsewhere.]… (more)
LibraryThing member bbbbecky13
Shirley Jackson will always be the queen of quiet horror in my mind, and this posthumous collection of Shirley Jackson stories and essays is fantastic.

The majority of these stories have never been published. I’m finding that I prefer the Library of America collection of novels and stories, but I’ve still enjoyed all of these so far. Almost every one of these stories features Jackson’s particular brand of uncanniness, creating a strong sense of unease in the reader. I’ve thought many times that reading Shirley Jackson is like watching The Twilight Zone. Things often aren’t quite right, but you can’t put your finger on why or how. It’s disquieting and unsettling, and creates a perfect mood of uneasiness.… (more)
LibraryThing member SamSattler
This volume of previously unpublished essays and stories from Shirley Jackson was compiled by her son and daughter who located her papers in various library collections. I have to say that if these are the ones that never made it to publication, I can't wait to read more of Jackson's work because many of these are brilliant and/or laugh-out-loud funny. Jackson had a way of looking at the world and family life that is still as funny and refreshing today as when the stories and essay pieces were originally written.

I highly recommend this compilation, especially if you are already a Shirley Jackson fan. If you are not a fan of her work, you probably will be after spending a few days with Let Me Tell You.
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LibraryThing member Jan.Coco.Day
I love Shirley Jackson. Consistent with shared American school experience, my first introduction to Jackson was "The Lottery" on my school reading list. Unfortunately, I might have been in a "white British writer canon" phase (ugh. I've given myself all the requisite lectures, trust me.) which led me to push Jackson off the radar. Years later, I married a film snob obsessed with The Haunting, which led me back to Jackson. (He hosts a book/film club, and I always push hard for a discussion of The Haunting of Hill House and viewing of the film.) This collection of 50 plus previously unpublished pieces--some of which are unfinished--showcase the drastically different modes of writing from her tall tales of small-town psychology to comic family tableau to line drawings that deliver to the reader a searing view into Jackson's vulnerability as a writer, mother, and wife. Jackson weaves a spell from your nightstand. Just as she intended.… (more)


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