Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson

I’ve been wanting to read Dark Tales for absolutely ages – and despite the difficulty of obtaining it, am quietly impressed that it isn’t available on Kindle. (I love my Kindle, don’t get me wrong – but this was a perfect book for curling up in bed with with the curtains drawn.) [Edit: Since writing, a Kindle version has in fact been released.] It’s gloriously, deliciously creepy, and Shirley Jackson makes unease ooze from the pages. Despite its diminutive stature, weighing in around the 200 page mark, it felt longer on the inside. Not all of the seventeen stories included are of the same calibre, but it was a solidly enjoyable read that has convinced me to read more by Jackson in future.

My particular favourites are “The Possibility of Evil”, “Louisa, Please Come Home”, “Paranoia”, “The Story We Used to Tell”, “The Beautiful Stranger”, “All She Said Was Yes”, “The Bus”, “The Good Wife” and “The Summer People”, and if you’re thinking that Melissa, in a 17-volume story you cannot possibly have 9 favourites, then you my friend are wrong. A couple didn’t have quite enough going on to be fully satisfying – “Jack the Ripper”, “What a Thought”, and a few more I felt like I didn’t fully get – “The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith”, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, “The Man in the Woods”. But overall, this is an absolutely excellent collection that I would not hesitate to give as a Halloween gift.

[Read from 12-14 May 2017]

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