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Dark Tales

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The perfect read for Hallowe'en, this new hardback volume of Jackson's finest stories reveals the queen of American gothic at her unsettling, mesmerising best There's something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be The perfect read for Hallowe'en, this new hardback volume of Jackson's finest stories reveals the queen of American gothic at her unsettling, mesmerising best There's something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods...

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The perfect read for Hallowe'en, this new hardback volume of Jackson's finest stories reveals the queen of American gothic at her unsettling, mesmerising best There's something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be The perfect read for Hallowe'en, this new hardback volume of Jackson's finest stories reveals the queen of American gothic at her unsettling, mesmerising best There's something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods...

30 review for Dark Tales

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    This is a superb collection of 17 dark tales by the masterful writer, Shirley Jackson. They are designed to inspire unease and to unsettle. They are wide ranging in subject matter and each is a worthy read. The author has a gifted writing style that transports the reader to surprising and unexpected places. I particularly enjoyed The Good Wife, Paranoia and The Beautiful Stranger. There were occasions I wanted a little more depth and length to a story. A perfect collection for those who enjoy th This is a superb collection of 17 dark tales by the masterful writer, Shirley Jackson. They are designed to inspire unease and to unsettle. They are wide ranging in subject matter and each is a worthy read. The author has a gifted writing style that transports the reader to surprising and unexpected places. I particularly enjoyed The Good Wife, Paranoia and The Beautiful Stranger. There were occasions I wanted a little more depth and length to a story. A perfect collection for those who enjoy the gothic, an air of menace, spookiness and darkness. Wonderful. Thanks to Penguin for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    --The Possibility of Evil --Louisa, Please Come Home --Paranoia --The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith --The Story We Used to Tell --The Sorcerer's Apprentice --Jack the Ripper --The Beautiful Stranger --All She Said Was Yes --What a Thought --The Bus --Family Treasures --A Visit --The Good Wife --The Man in the Woods --Home --The Summer People

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    DNF'd at 41% This is one of the few books I have ever failed to finish but, dear God, this was so dull! I have heard that this is probably prolific horror writer, Shirley Jackson's, least popular work and I can see why. The stories focused on mundane suburbia, which heightened the sinister vibes that haunted each tale. Unfortunately, for me, these stories felt dull and bland. The twists that occurred were interesting and unprecedented, in a handful of them, but never enough to redeem the entire st DNF'd at 41% This is one of the few books I have ever failed to finish but, dear God, this was so dull! I have heard that this is probably prolific horror writer, Shirley Jackson's, least popular work and I can see why. The stories focused on mundane suburbia, which heightened the sinister vibes that haunted each tale. Unfortunately, for me, these stories felt dull and bland. The twists that occurred were interesting and unprecedented, in a handful of them, but never enough to redeem the entire story. I would rather read one of Jackson's better received anthologies rather than struggle through this one and end up writing-off this author completely. I managed to read half of the stories in the collection and only one was of any interest to me. A breakdown of my thoughts on the few I read are listed below: The Possibility of Evil - 2/5 stars The first few pages of this read quite drily but the sly twist regarding the main character made this a deceptively wicked little tale! It dealt with such trivial matters but that is where the absurdity of this shone. The ending, however, made the whole piece seem pointless and not properly concluded. Louisa, Please Come Home - 1/5 stars This focuses on the narrative of a runaway and should have been poignant but, instead, was rather boring. Like the first tale, this had an interesting twist but the lack of an ending just made this seem incomplete. The protagonist was petulant and unlikeable and, without proper reasoning given for her disappearance, it was hard to feel any empathy towards her. This read less like a cohesive story and more like an in-depth character study. Paranoia - 4/5 stars The character’s growing sense of unease is mirrored by the reader as the story wears on. Despite the lack of anything sinister actually occurring, this had a permeating eerie feel to it. The cliffhanger ending, that left the preceding stories feeling incomplete, added to the tension of this piece. The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith - 3/5 stars This is an intriguing story, where the reader is kept in the dark about the protagonist’s secrets. The suspense grows and it feels almost illicit to learn the truth. I wouldn’t have gathered that this was a Bluebeard retelling just from reading it, but now I know that fact it makes the piece make much more sense. I still found this a boring read, but it gets a bonus star as I am absolute trash for retellings. The Story We Used to Tell - 3/5 stars This had the haunting vibes I was longing for, from this collection, and the ending redoubled the spooky aura. This wasn’t exactly an original story, but was an enjoyable, if forgettable, one. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - 1/5 stars I’m starting to think I am missing something about Jackson’s writing as this was another dull and pointless story. The story was just started to get interesting but seemed to stop half way through the telling of it. Again! Jack the Ripper - 2/5 stars This was the story I was most excited for, based solely on the title. The twist part-way through was unprecedented and, despite not actually scary, had a sinister vibe. Again, like every story in this collection, there was no conclusion and the story stops just as it is getting interesting. The Beautiful Stranger - 2/5 stars This story differed from the others, in that the story was dull but the ending interesting, rather than the other way around. One sentence wasn’t enough to redeem it, however.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Zuky the BookBum

    This is a really generous collection of short stories. There are 17 in this book in total, with the longest being only 24 pages (which feels like loads after reading 10 page stories practically all the way through)! The Possibility of Evil - 3 stars I wasn’t all that interested in this short until right at the very end. The last line was fantastically horrible. Louisa, Please Come Home - 3 stars Hm. This one was good but not great. It was sad, more than anything. Paranoia - 5 stars This story wa This is a really generous collection of short stories. There are 17 in this book in total, with the longest being only 24 pages (which feels like loads after reading 10 page stories practically all the way through)! The Possibility of Evil - 3 stars I wasn’t all that interested in this short until right at the very end. The last line was fantastically horrible. Louisa, Please Come Home - 3 stars Hm. This one was good but not great. It was sad, more than anything. Paranoia - 5 stars This story was great! It gripped me right from the start and had my heart pounding as Mr Beresford was rushing to get home and away from “light hat”. Fantastically creepy ending too. The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith - 2 stars I liked the prose and everything but I didn’t get it? Probably me just being stupid but… yeah. The Story We Used to Tell - 3 stars There was certainly an eeriness about this story but I didn’t like how it took on a sort of paranormal turn, when the rest of the stories have been based on human nature. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - 2 stars This one was just really dull in comparison to the other ones. Jack the Ripper - 4 stars I liked this one because it was creepy and kind of left you to your own imagination. I love any kind of story that focuses on the Ripper because everyone makes him their own. The Beautiful Stranger - 3 stars If you can’t already tell from my previous mini reviews, I prefer the creepy stories, and this wasn’t that, but it was still an interesting story, just not my favourite. All She Said Was Yes - 4 stars I liked this story because it was a little bit different and the ending has you going “No! No! Don’t do it!”. I like it when a book conjures up that emotion from you. What a Thought - 4 stars Hasn’t just about everyone had a murderous thoughts before? This was a good story because I could relate to some of it. (That all sounds so bad, don’t worry, I’m not planning on ever killing anyone). The Bus - 4 stars I really liked this one! It got super creepy when she arrived at the old house and I loved the twist ending! Family Treasures - 3 stars I enjoyed this one all the way up to then end. Girls are so terribly bitchy, Jackson got the atmosphere in the house perfectly right! A Visit - 3 stars I liked how the mystery built in this story but I didn’t particularly like how to story ended. I also felt that the timings were a little all over the place, which confused me at some parts. The Good Wife - 3 stars I didn’t mind this story but it was very predictable. I was hoping the end wouldn’t be what I was expecting it to be, but alas. The Man in the Woods - 4 stars This story had a bit of a fairy tale feel to it, which made it a lot more enjoyable for me. Home - 4 stars OK, so I know I said earlier in this review that I didn’t like one of the stories taking on a paranormal element, but I liked it in this one! I kind of reminded me of Beetlejuice because of the bridge lol. The Summer People - 4 stars Eep, this one was creepy! I liked the whole creepy local community vibe it had to it and how the Allison’s were no longer welcome… Very good end to this collection of shorts. Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books UK for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lotte

    'She knew that if she asked her husband to take her to a movie, or out for a ride, or to play gin rummy, he would smile at her and agree; he was always willing to do things to please her, still, after ten years of marriage. An odd thought crossed her mind: she would pick up the heavy glass ashtray and smash her husband over the head with it.' For me, this short story collection proofed once and for all that Shirley Jackson is the true queen of creating creeping unease and the suburban gothic. All 'She knew that if she asked her husband to take her to a movie, or out for a ride, or to play gin rummy, he would smile at her and agree; he was always willing to do things to please her, still, after ten years of marriage. An odd thought crossed her mind: she would pick up the heavy glass ashtray and smash her husband over the head with it.' For me, this short story collection proofed once and for all that Shirley Jackson is the true queen of creating creeping unease and the suburban gothic. All of her stories have a habit of literally creeping up on you and leaving you slightly unsettled in a weirdly satisfying way. I didn't feel like there was a single bad story in this collection, but a few stood out to me especially and have left me thinking about them even a couple of weeks after I've read them: The Possibility of Evil; Louisa, Please Come Home; The Beautiful Stranger; All She Said Was Yes and The Good Wife.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Harris

    Shirley Jackson needs no reviews from me: she is simply the best and most nuanced storyteller of unease and suburban discomfort of her generation. So many great writers reflect her influence. Without her, Iain Banks' WASP FACTORY would have been very different; Stephen King's GUNSLINGER books would have lost much of their inspiration and Chris Fowler's short fiction would have been greatly impoverished. All I can say if you haven't read her, is: I envy you a little. You still have this to come.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ✨Tamara

    Devilishly dark. "After her short story 'The Lottery' was published in the New Yorker in 1948, Shirley Jackson quickly established a reputation as a master storyteller of horror. this collection of classic and newly reprinted stories provides readers with more of her unsettling tales, including 'The Possibility of Evil' and 'The Summer People'. In these deliciously dark stories, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide-and-seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts, and the con Devilishly dark. "After her short story 'The Lottery' was published in the New Yorker in 1948, Shirley Jackson quickly established a reputation as a master storyteller of horror. this collection of classic and newly reprinted stories provides readers with more of her unsettling tales, including 'The Possibility of Evil' and 'The Summer People'. In these deliciously dark stories, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide-and-seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts, and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In The haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the crumbling country pile, and from the small town apartment to the dark, dark woods. There's something sinister in suburbia." I have the penguin classics version of this book and at first the cover art did not make sense to me. But then I read the first story and now the cover art makes me laugh every time I see it. These are dark tales yes, but some I find rather humorous in nature. Irony always strikes me as funny. This was my introduction to Shirley Jackson's writings. I have to say that her writing style is very clean and, though she paints a vivid picture, is also very to the point. I definitely look forward to reading more of her works in the near future. I would recommend these stories to just about everyone considering that most of these stories have a PG rating in the horror genre.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    Dark Tales is an anthology of Shirley Jackson’s stories made up of previous collections Come Along With Me, Just An Ordinary Day and Let Me Tell You - there’s no new material here. And, let me tell you, it’s also by far the weakest fiction of Jackson’s I’ve read! I’m a big Shirley Jackson fan. I love The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Lottery and Other Stories, and have re-read each book at least twice, but the stories in Dark Tales are all pretty bad. Jackson Dark Tales is an anthology of Shirley Jackson’s stories made up of previous collections Come Along With Me, Just An Ordinary Day and Let Me Tell You - there’s no new material here. And, let me tell you, it’s also by far the weakest fiction of Jackson’s I’ve read! I’m a big Shirley Jackson fan. I love The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Lottery and Other Stories, and have re-read each book at least twice, but the stories in Dark Tales are all pretty bad. Jackson’s style is very lo-fi for the most part, slowly introducing eerie, creepy elements and finishing strongly with a powerful scene. Her most famous story, The Lottery, is the perfect example of that though numerous stories, mostly collected in The Lottery and Other Stories, have knockout twist endings and an unsettling tone of dread throughout that builds to a horrific climax. The stories in Dark Tales start off similarly, focusing on the mundane everyday - and go nowhere. They just end as boringly as they began. Like in The Possibility of Evil, the character potters about her home and town, doing grocery shopping or cooking or writing letters, someone will do or seem a bit off, and then the story’s over. Louisa, Please Come Home sees a teenager run away from home and be forgotten by her family. Zzz… The more overtly supernatural stories are only slightly less dull and seem like corny Twilight Zone knockoffs. Like in The Bus where a stranded woman gets a lift to a familiar house that turns out to be her childhood home and she can’t escape it. The story Home features a pair of ghosts who like to sit in cars. Really?? Like in a lot of Jackson’s stories, the menace of small town America her paranoia made her feel is prevalent like in The Summer People but it’s so much better realised in stories like The Lottery or her novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I suppose Dark Tales has well-written stories but Shirley Jackson is usually also able to grip and entertain the reader with the content as much as the style, and she fails consistently to do so throughout this collection. Evidently her best material is in her most well-known collection, The Lottery and Other Stories, which I’d recommend over this one. Dark Tales is full of nothing but bottom of the barrel scrapings - even if you’re a Jackson fan, this one’s not worth bothering with.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Shirley Jackson here shows her mastery of the short story. Each of these 17 tales reflect normality gone wrong, staring with the world we all know, life 'as it is'. Then at various speeds and levels of intensity, Jackson takes the reader into the unusual, bizarre, unexpected. In some stories it is slipped under your radar so well that you carry on for several sentences or paragraphs after the divergence before you think 'hang on, what?' and have to go back to read it all over again. I'm not nece Shirley Jackson here shows her mastery of the short story. Each of these 17 tales reflect normality gone wrong, staring with the world we all know, life 'as it is'. Then at various speeds and levels of intensity, Jackson takes the reader into the unusual, bizarre, unexpected. In some stories it is slipped under your radar so well that you carry on for several sentences or paragraphs after the divergence before you think 'hang on, what?' and have to go back to read it all over again. I'm not necessarily sure it's right to say that I enjoyed the experience, more that I appreciated the skill of the author. I was consistently reminded of the craft of writing, the structured and deliberate fashioning of a specific reader response. It would be an excellent book for writing courses, I leave it feeling I've seen something that is usually hidden. ARC via Netgalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    These Dark Tales join the dots between frustration, despair, inertia and the uncanny. Although not all the stories have suburban settings, I can understand why this collection has the tagline 'there's something nasty in suburbia'. Jackson is a master of the horribly banal: more than one story makes getting out of public transport in the wrong place seem like a fate of hideous, insurmountable terror, and there's often a strong sense that characters are unable to escape from situations they would, These Dark Tales join the dots between frustration, despair, inertia and the uncanny. Although not all the stories have suburban settings, I can understand why this collection has the tagline 'there's something nasty in suburbia'. Jackson is a master of the horribly banal: more than one story makes getting out of public transport in the wrong place seem like a fate of hideous, insurmountable terror, and there's often a strong sense that characters are unable to escape from situations they would, in real life, be easily able to resolve or avoid. Many of the protagonists are female, and I wonder if something is being said here about the inevitable drudgery and constraint of women's roles in the mid-20th century. So many of them have to do with being trapped. This can be literal: 'The Good Wife' involves a husband locking his wife in her room because of a supposed affair. It can be somehow supernatural: 'The Story We Used To Tell' and 'A Visit' both have characters becoming imprisoned within a representation of a particular place. The trap might be represented as a loop, a series of events that closes in on itself, as in 'Paranoia', wherein a man struggles to evade a stalker on his way home, only to find the conspiracy stretches further than he'd imagined. In 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice', you can really feel the protagonist's frustration at being menaced by a supremely irritating child; in several other stories, characters' frequent repetition of the same phrase and/or inability to understand what others are saying has a similar effect on the reader. My personal favourites from Dark Tales are all stories in which the protagonist's character is just as important as what becomes of them. 'Home' is a ghost story, but there's an element of much-needed levity in the arrogance of Ethel Sloane, who supposes she is an expert on her new hometown just a couple of days after moving to the country (and pays the price for not heeding the locals' warnings about the Sanderson road). The narrator of 'All She Said Was Yes' displays a condescending, dismissive attitude towards her late neighbour's daughter – with similarly dire consequences. 'Family Treasures' sensitively portrays an outcast girl who becomes a kleptomaniac, and is the only one to end on a triumphant note. Finally, there's 'Louisa, Please Come Home', which follows a young woman who runs away and disguises her identity rather too successfully. During the course of the narrative, Louisa became such a compelling character that my emotions veered from one extreme to another along with hers. Overall, Shirley Jackson's stories give me a similar feeling to Robert Aickman's. They are technically excellent, and I'm glad to say I've read them because of the author's influential status within genres I enjoy. However, I often found the stories in Dark Tales somewhat unpleasant to read and felt a certain amount of relief when I reached the end. TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carla Remy

    Creepiness, not obvious fright. More of a nightmare dream logic. Which can only mean death or seeing outside of the coils of time. The Bus exemplifies this, also A Visit (which I have read before, in Ladies of Horror, a collection from 1971). I also knew Louisa, Please Come Home from its inclusion in 2013's Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives. Obviously, I enjoyed reading both of these again. I also liked All She Said Was Yes. The Story We Used to Tell is significant in how it relates to certain o Creepiness, not obvious fright. More of a nightmare dream logic. Which can only mean death or seeing outside of the coils of time. The Bus exemplifies this, also A Visit (which I have read before, in Ladies of Horror, a collection from 1971). I also knew Louisa, Please Come Home from its inclusion in 2013's Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives. Obviously, I enjoyed reading both of these again. I also liked All She Said Was Yes. The Story We Used to Tell is significant in how it relates to certain other of Jackson's writing (most notably A Visit).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rheama Heather

    This collection of shorts is my first experience with Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House author, and inspiration to Stephen King. Things to Know 1. The writing style is dated by long, convoluted sentences and stiff vocab. That kind of prose puts me off classics in general. I admit, I skimmed. 2. However, in many ways, these stories feel right at home in 2017 because Jackson was decades ahead of her time. Most of her narrators are women. The tales themselves are dark and vaguely violent This collection of shorts is my first experience with Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House author, and inspiration to Stephen King. Things to Know 1. The writing style is dated by long, convoluted sentences and stiff vocab. That kind of prose puts me off classics in general. I admit, I skimmed. 2. However, in many ways, these stories feel right at home in 2017 because Jackson was decades ahead of her time. Most of her narrators are women. The tales themselves are dark and vaguely violent. Polite, well-behaved ladies don’t brood on such disturbing thoughts, y’all. Or at least they didn’t back in Shirley’s day which automatically makes her one of my heroes. I’m surprised she found a publisher while still alive. 👏🏻 3. I don’t mean to compare a sledgehammer to a chisel, but ... like Poe, Jackson’s plots are off kilter enough to make you wonder about the mental stability of the author. Some quick research confirms Jackson’s life wasn’t blissful. And the strain shows in her writing. 4. Some of the stories are obvious. Others aren’t. I’ve read that Jackson was meticulous in her craft. She had a purpose in mind for every detail. But some of her best intentions are lost on the likes of me. 5. The stories range enough in topic and quality that you probably won’t enjoy every one. I didn’t, anyway. But the ones I do like, I like exceptionally well. My favorites: The Possibility of Evil - You know those people who go to church every Sunday and always take care to act prim and proper, but you just know they’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Yeah. Shirley knew some too, I guess. Jack the Ripper - So short, so simple, and yet so chilling. All She Said Was Yes - If you’ve ever worried that people are just acting polite and don’t really give a damn about their fellow man ... well. You may be right. What a Thought - This is a what if story. What if you have a sudden, inexplicable, overwhelming urge to do something terrible? Family Treasures - I would call Shirley a feminist. But listen. If you’ve ever lived in an all girl college dorm, or been within a mile of one, you know the female capacity for drama and manipulation. Disguised as sweetness, of course. Here ya go. Kind of a retro, non-hilarious Mean Girls. Jackson is the Tina Fey of the dark side. Summer People - It’s a prelude to Deliverance, Yankee style.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jess at JessicaWrites.co.uk

    Follow me on the interwebs: Blog + Twitter + Facebook + Instagram Jackson is very subtle with her horror, sly with the sense of creeping claustrophobia and I can't profess my love enough for some of these delightfully twisted little tales. The 5 STAR reads aka the whatever you do please read these Shirley Jackson short stories because they are literal perfection. + The Story We Used to Tell + All she said was yes + What a thought + Paranoia + A Visit (also called 'The Lovely House' in some an Follow me on the interwebs: Blog + Twitter + Facebook + Instagram Jackson is very subtle with her horror, sly with the sense of creeping claustrophobia and I can't profess my love enough for some of these delightfully twisted little tales. The 5 STAR reads aka the whatever you do please read these Shirley Jackson short stories because they are literal perfection. + The Story We Used to Tell + All she said was yes + What a thought + Paranoia + A Visit (also called 'The Lovely House' in some anthologies) The Rest that you could survive without reading: + The Possibility of Evil: 2/5 stars + Louisa, Please Come Home: 2/5 stars + The Man in the Woods: 2/5 + Home: 2/5 + The Honeymoon of Mrs. Smith: 3/5 stars + Jack The Ripper: 3/5 + The Good Wife: 3/5 + The Beautiful Stranger: 4/5 + The Bus: 4/5 + Family Treasures: 4/5 + The Summer People: 4/5

  14. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    My first taster of Shirley Jackson, a writer who has been on my radar for a while: these short stories are gloriously off-kilter, little gems of unease. Some of them probe the hidden lives of women who appear 'nice' on the surface but have more going on underneath; others seem to channel the paranoia of 1950s USA with the anxiety of McCarthyism displaced onto strange and unsettling situations in urban environments; some are more clearly haunted stories. Jackson skill is to make the everyday (a b My first taster of Shirley Jackson, a writer who has been on my radar for a while: these short stories are gloriously off-kilter, little gems of unease. Some of them probe the hidden lives of women who appear 'nice' on the surface but have more going on underneath; others seem to channel the paranoia of 1950s USA with the anxiety of McCarthyism displaced onto strange and unsettling situations in urban environments; some are more clearly haunted stories. Jackson skill is to make the everyday (a bus driver who rushes past a stop or two) feel menacing and sinister, and there's an undertow of grotesque humour at times such as in the opening story set in a little traditional homely town. There is something a little old-fashioned about these tales, though the tension between the sometimes-cosy settings and the trajectory of the story helps to foreground what is unnerving about them. I can see how a modern writer like Joyce Carol Oates draws on Jackson's influence to create her own contemporary tales of C21st unease. So a good way to dip into Jackson and this has certainly whetted my appetite for her novels. Thanks to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 6th October 2016 Dark Tales is an interesting little collection of uncanny stories — not stories which are openly horror, but ones with that creeping sense of unease, or that little twist. Like the man who finds someone stalking him all the way home, does his best to avoid him, and when he eventually gets home… his wife calls someone up to tell them she’s got him. Twists like that, and moments where it feels like the story took a left turn from e Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 6th October 2016 Dark Tales is an interesting little collection of uncanny stories — not stories which are openly horror, but ones with that creeping sense of unease, or that little twist. Like the man who finds someone stalking him all the way home, does his best to avoid him, and when he eventually gets home… his wife calls someone up to tell them she’s got him. Twists like that, and moments where it feels like the story took a left turn from expected normality all of a sudden. Shirley Jackson was a fine writer, and these stories are really well done in terms of structure and content: there’s just enough in each one, but not so much that it makes things too obvious or belabours a point. My only issue reading these was that the Kindle version received as an ARC wasn’t properly structured, so you couldn’t jump to a particular story, and the stories weren’t actually separated from each other. I’m sure that’s not the case in the printed work, but you might want to preview an ebook to make sure they did fix that. Originally posted here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    mathilde maire

    That was one of the best short story collections I've read. The stories were all disturbing but in a very subtle way. The last one, The Summer People, reminded me a lot of The Lottery – do you agree?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    Every story is perfect. She is the master of horror.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    I love Shirley Jackson, I don't know another author like her and some of the short stories in this collection are just incredible. Eery, uncomfortable, strange... But some I didn't quite understand, I must admit. This book is a definite "will read again" and maybe I'll get more out of the ones that confused me this time. If not I'm already looking forward to the ones I loved this time around. One or two reminded me of these Dahl short stories that have stayed with me for years now because they'r I love Shirley Jackson, I don't know another author like her and some of the short stories in this collection are just incredible. Eery, uncomfortable, strange... But some I didn't quite understand, I must admit. This book is a definite "will read again" and maybe I'll get more out of the ones that confused me this time. If not I'm already looking forward to the ones I loved this time around. One or two reminded me of these Dahl short stories that have stayed with me for years now because they're so creepy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I don't think ive ever heard of Shirley Jackson before and it was discounted on the kindle app, so I thought why not, its near Halloween time, a few creepy stories wouldn't go amiss. Possibility of evil : A little old lady mails some letters telling people the gossip of the town, some kids pick up a letter she's dropped. they take it to intended recipients home, and the next day all her roses are chopped up? Like is that it? I turned the page and was like seriously? just as something was startin I don't think ive ever heard of Shirley Jackson before and it was discounted on the kindle app, so I thought why not, its near Halloween time, a few creepy stories wouldn't go amiss. Possibility of evil : A little old lady mails some letters telling people the gossip of the town, some kids pick up a letter she's dropped. they take it to intended recipients home, and the next day all her roses are chopped up? Like is that it? I turned the page and was like seriously? just as something was starting to happen. Bit rubbish, the initial scene setting and character formation was good it was cut off before we got anywhere though. louisa please come home : your tan coat, yeah we get how important your coat is now calm down. A girl following the story of her own disappearance, just beginning I saw beginning apparently shes been missing three years, but it feels like shes only been missing a minute. Boy from home town sees her at the train station for some reason, and brings her (willingly home) Parents 'no no no, not my child, bad boy bye lady' Louisa 'its me' p 'no its not' louisa 'okay, bye' What. what was the point, nothing dark about the two ive read so far just ending before we've got anywhere. paranoia : we've got a man chasing our guy that wants to get home for his wifes birthday, he keeps turning up and we've just had an altercation in a shop. we're on the bus and this guy and two other people are on the bus. what now.better I guess, still just a man running up and down the town. at least this is finished with an answer of sorts the honey moon of Mrs Smith: what was the actual point. is she suicidal. what the story we used to tell: better, horror rather than minor irritation of life. still would have liked a clearer end The story we used to tell: I enjoyed this, it was probably one of the best so far. Even though short, most of these stories are far off hitting the mark, I get that there's only so much to be said in SHORT story but.... if the technique of less is more is enforced as what I think is how these stories are meant to be read. Its a poor short. You get a story going and .... its a dead sentence, fair enough you're left like what?!? but that's almost because half the details are missing. People trapped in a picture yep. The sorcerers apprentice: a stroppy child, doesn't get a doll. Lady breaks her record. and puts on a hat and leaves the house. Legit what was the point of this one. I do not know. jack the ripper: Drunk girl, no-one cares about her. 'She's a regular and we treat her like shit, because shes an easy girl' says the barkeep and his gooneys. Jack? brings her home, to her rundown high up story flat and has a knife... then goes home to wifey. ok. good for you homebro. again. the knife bit is missing a lot its not suspense and mystery its not doing your job lady. The beautiful stranger: husband away on business, wife thinks its not her legit husband who returns. they have a nice time, she buys gifts tries to come home and gets lost. boohoo. All she said was yes: snobby parents of next door child die, lady tells child, child knew it would happen. Doesn't cry, everyone is concerned she doesn't cry, okay apparently I didn't finish this one, but last page says I'm going on a cruise, girl has warned not to go near boats lady will die okay, sad. ish not really. I don't care. everyone in this is so cold and calculated how can you care about them? Its written in another time, and I'm not sure I fit in this outdated world Jackson is describing. 7 more to go.... :lv I read a couple more than what I've reviewervwilk do the others tomorrow. but in see absolutely no n sense in continuing. all the characters are the same and I'm really bored. like bitch bye.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Shirley Jackson's Dark Tales is a new compilation volume for Autumn 2016, coincided to be fittingly released around Hallowe'en. Obviously I was a little late to the party, and ended up reading the collection in November, but found it just as creepy as I would at any other time of year. Most of the stories here have been published in magazines like The New Yorker, but have never seen the light of day in book form. The seventeen stories here are absolute masterpieces. They are accomplished without Shirley Jackson's Dark Tales is a new compilation volume for Autumn 2016, coincided to be fittingly released around Hallowe'en. Obviously I was a little late to the party, and ended up reading the collection in November, but found it just as creepy as I would at any other time of year. Most of the stories here have been published in magazines like The New Yorker, but have never seen the light of day in book form. The seventeen stories here are absolute masterpieces. They are accomplished without exception; as a whole, Dark Tales is almost overwhelmingly fantastic. Jackson's use of unease builds steadily to thrumming crescendo, and each tale surprises greatly. Just marvellous. Curl up with this tome this winter; you will not regret it!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    My life goal is to be a character in a Shirley Jackson story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Callum McLaughlin

    This collection of 'dark tales' isn't about outright scares. Instead, it's focussed far more on creating a tangible atmosphere, and a sort of eerie dream logic. Whilst some flirt with the supernatural, most explore the disturbed side of the human psyche; peeling back the facade of mundane everyday life to shine a light on the menace that lurks beneath polite society. Jackson presents us with characters and situations that are ever so slightly skewed, building tension to its peak, before abandoni This collection of 'dark tales' isn't about outright scares. Instead, it's focussed far more on creating a tangible atmosphere, and a sort of eerie dream logic. Whilst some flirt with the supernatural, most explore the disturbed side of the human psyche; peeling back the facade of mundane everyday life to shine a light on the menace that lurks beneath polite society. Jackson presents us with characters and situations that are ever so slightly skewed, building tension to its peak, before abandoning us to ponder what may or may not happen next. This sense of bewilderment, and lack of a clear beginning, middle and end in many of the stories, may frustrate some, but to me it demonstrated the skill with which Jackson can guide readers through her work; leaving the true horror to our imagination in most instances. Her prose is pin-sharp, and packed full of thematic nuance, with many of the stories commenting subtly on themes such as gender, community, mental health, secrets, and cruelty. This is a writer who clearly understood her craft, and knew how to get her audience thinking. There are 17 stories, so I won't discuss them all, but I will talk briefly about some of my favourites to give you an idea of what you can expect. A Visit is the longest story, and the most gothic in flavour. We find a young woman visiting the home of a school friend, which just so happens to be an aging manor, with strange tapestries adorning the walls, and an elusive great-aunt living at the top of a tower. It has all the classic gothic elements of mystery, intrigue, pathos, and perhaps something a little eerie going on. The Bus sees an elderly woman abandoned by the roadside in the middle of the night, seeking solace in an old inn that feels oddly familiar to her. This is one of the most nightmarish in the collection, with a brilliantly chilling ending. Paranoia is where Jackson really shows off her ability to build tension, even when little is going on. Here, a man becomes convinced he's being followed during his journey home, with events becoming increasingly odd, and an ending that is deliciously sinister for all its open-ended mystery. All She Said Was Yes will ensure you pay closer attention to the warnings of children from now on... It's a great and darkly humorous story about a teenage girl who seems remarkably unsurprised by the deaths of her parents. Home is the most outright ghostly of the stories, and is very visually striking. It brought to mind Susan Hill's The Woman in Black. Louisa, Please Come Home is a fascinating and surprisingly melancholic look at the notions of body, identity and mourning. In it, a young woman receives an unexpected welcome when she returns home, three years after running away from her family. The Summer People is perhaps one of the most ambiguous stories, and yet one of the most unsettling. It centres around a couple who find the locals are not happy when they decide to remain at their summer house beyond the end of the season. This is another one where the tension, and sense of impending doom, build at just the right pace. Other concepts include a wife suddenly struck by the notion that she could kill her husband; people who appear to become trapped inside a painting; a woman held prisoner by her own husband; a rescuer who may not be as well-meaning as he seems; an old woman who spreads local gossip via anonymous letters; and a girl who becomes a kleptomaniac within her own dorm house. I've loved a couple of Jackson's novels in the past, and this proves that her short stories are capable of being just as unnerving and thought-provoking.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Tinkler (Mamajomakes)

    This is the second time I’ve read Shirley Jackson and I feel slightly bewildered by this collection of short stories. I loved the majority of them however there were two or three that I reread because when I finished them I was baffled by the ending and thought that I’d missed something further back that would make the ending make sense. I do love the delicious darkness of Jackson’s imagination and most of what I’ve read of her writing but I’d give this three and a half out of five.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kath

    Such an amazing, gripping and definitely a must-read short story collection.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Evgenia

    Wow, the lady can write! I marvel at how original each of the many short stories in this collection is, yet almost every one manages to be engaging and, ultimately, shocking.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    A few hidden gems ('Louisa, Please Come Home,' 'Family Treasures' and 'Home') make the purchase of this collection of Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson a must for horror-aficionados. Even her more conventional tales ('All She Said Was Yes') or even lackluster ('Paranoia') are a good read. *edit* I am deeply obsessed with horror, particularly short-stories, so what may be new for you in terms of what Jackson creates may be a common occurrence for myself. If you read this, and enjoy it, I recommend the A few hidden gems ('Louisa, Please Come Home,' 'Family Treasures' and 'Home') make the purchase of this collection of Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson a must for horror-aficionados. Even her more conventional tales ('All She Said Was Yes') or even lackluster ('Paranoia') are a good read. *edit* I am deeply obsessed with horror, particularly short-stories, so what may be new for you in terms of what Jackson creates may be a common occurrence for myself. If you read this, and enjoy it, I recommend the No Sleep Podcast. Its a wonderful podcast full of the best horror stories on the internet with even better voice acting.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    These stories are so awesome. On one hand, the stories are wonderfully dark fantasy. On the other hand, you are left wondering how much autobiographical details are interwoven in the story - such as the story with a town gossip, or the married couple fighting.

  28. 5 out of 5

    tortoise dreams

    Seventeen disturbing stories by the author of The Haunting of Hill House and "The Lottery." Book Review: Dark Tales has some stories that will keep you up at night -- at least they did me. But first a quick origin story (or history lesson) for those obsessed Shirley Jackson fans out there. Despite writing one of the most anthologized stories in history, "The Lottery," and writing loads of other stories to pay the rent, Jackson released only one story collection in her lifetime (originally titled Seventeen disturbing stories by the author of The Haunting of Hill House and "The Lottery." Book Review: Dark Tales has some stories that will keep you up at night -- at least they did me. But first a quick origin story (or history lesson) for those obsessed Shirley Jackson fans out there. Despite writing one of the most anthologized stories in history, "The Lottery," and writing loads of other stories to pay the rent, Jackson released only one story collection in her lifetime (originally titled The Lottery or, the Adventures of James Harris), now commonly known as The Lottery and Other Stories. Posthumously, three Jackson story collections have been published: Come Along with Me (1968), Just an Ordinary Day (1996), and Let Me Tell You (2015). The stories in Dark Tales were selected from just these last three collections. Although Penguin says that these are her "scariest stories," it may also serve as something of a "best of" Jackson's later shorter work, since the three previously published collections are considered somewhat sketchy (the last two compendiums may be scraping the bottom of the barrel -- two are on my shelf, I'll report back). Now, back to the book. Dark Tales starts strong with four amazing stories. After that, subtle, intelligent, disturbing stories mix with ones that are a little less powerful, as sometimes Jackson telegraphs her endings, being just a little too obvious, though still unsettling. Jackson writes about worlds that are just little off, worlds where we're not in control, worlds that are against us; she writes about worlds that are close enough to be familiar, but just different enough for chills. The unexpected may be expected in Dark Tales. There are stories where paranoia isn't paranoia, where city folk refuse to listen to country folk, even a couple stories reminiscent of "The Lottery." Dark Tales is an excellent collection, every story worth reading. And reading again. [4★]

  29. 5 out of 5

    Belinda Carvalho

    This is a well-written collection but I found it really dull. The sense of horror is so subtle it almost passed me by and a number of stories had me scratching my head afterwards. I felt pretty similar when I listened to an audio play of We've Always Lived in the Castle. Shirley Jackson is an American author and I think I expect more Americana and American Gothic in her work but for me, it's not really there. The stories feel empty and again, dull. What does intrigue me though is the sense of para This is a well-written collection but I found it really dull. The sense of horror is so subtle it almost passed me by and a number of stories had me scratching my head afterwards. I felt pretty similar when I listened to an audio play of We've Always Lived in the Castle. Shirley Jackson is an American author and I think I expect more Americana and American Gothic in her work but for me, it's not really there. The stories feel empty and again, dull. What does intrigue me though is the sense of paranoia and entrapment in domestic scenarios which seem to run through many stories in this collection. It's very much a work to describe the postwar consciousness of the 20th century. The characters remind me a bit of Edward Hopper paintings, alienated in a cruel world. A good writer but not for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anna || MyBookishDream

    My full review. Actual rating: 3.5 stars This short story collection was very interesting. The writing style was simply beautiful and captivating and it definitely made me want to read more works by Shirley Jackson, which I hopefully will in the future. The stories were very unnerving, dark and creepy from time to time. It was definitely a fascinating collection and one I would recommend to everyone!

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