Shirley Jackson – Dark Tales

Shirley Jackson – Dark Tales

From Shirley Jackson, one of the masters of horror short stories, now comes a collection of seventeen stories. They are all in the tradition of the good old ghost story where you have the ostensibly ordinary people living a normal live until something strange happens. There is the old lady writing anonymous letters to trigger evil in her neighbours. A girl who tries to flee from her family, who can build a new and quite happy life and who thinks that it is her who has cut the thread with her parents. Or the strange elderly couple on a honeymoon whom everybody eyes suspiciously – there must be something wrong. The husband who only wants to get home to his loving wife just like the woman who hates the public bus drivers and wants to complain about them even before boarding the bus. Or Anne, the plain student who moves unobserved and could never do any harm – couldn’t she?

Although we have rather short stories which do not shed a light on the characters’ past and which do not have complicated plots, it is great fun to read. What all the stories have in common is the unexpected turning point. We have a quick rise in suspense until something unforeseen happens and we change our mind – either in how we judge the character whom we have followed over a couple of pages or about the context in which the story seems to have taken place. A lot of surprises and what I found especially striking is the fact that the stories are all different. You do not have a kind of parallel that you can recognize, no obvious repetitions in the structure or characters.

All in all, a collection perfect for winter evenings for lovers of classic short stories.