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Extended Audio Sample Shirley: A Novel, by Susan Scarf Merrell Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Scarf Merrell Narrator: Lesa Lockford Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Two imposing literary figures are at the center of this captivating novel: the celebrated Shirley Jackson, best known for her short story “The Lottery,” and her husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman, a literary critic and professor at Bennington College. When a young graduate student and his pregnant wife—Fred and Rose Nemser—move into Shirley and Stanley’s home in the fall of 1964, they are quickly cast under the magnetic spell of their brilliant and proudly unconventional hosts.

While Fred becomes preoccupied with his teaching schedule, Rose forms an unlikely, turbulent friendship with the troubled and unpredictable Shirley. Fascinated by the Hymans’ volatile marriage and inexplicable drawn to the darkly enigmatic author, Rose nonetheless senses something amiss—something to do with nightly unanswered phone calls and inscrutable accounts of a long-missing female student.

Chillingly atmospheric and evocative of Jackson’s own classic stories, Shirley is an elegant thriller with one of America’s greatest horror writers at its heart.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “To the great literature of obsession we can now add Susan Scarf Merrell’s brilliant and captivating Shirley, a novel as full of passion and intrigue as any traditional love story. The twist is that the obsessive in these pages is a quiet young academic wife and the object of her fascination is none other than gothic storyteller Shirley Jackson. A fantastically original book.”

    Ann Packer, New York Times bestselling author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier

  • “[A] totally explosive thriller starring the fascinating late author as the main character.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Merrell brilliantly weaves events from Jackson’s life into a hypnotic story line that will please Jackson fans as well as anyone in search of a solidly written literary thriller…Its merit lies in its inventiveness even as it draws inspiration from Jackson’s own stories…[a] dazzling yet dark tale…One of the best things about Shirley is that you don’t have to be familiar with Jackson’s stories to enjoy it.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] precisely accurate look at the sexual and intellectual failures that real love must allow for and survive, and a darkly fantastical meditation on magic, revenge, love, and reality…The brilliance of Jackson’s life and Merrell’s writing is that they convey [a] depth and beauty…In the end, Shirley is a love story, albeit an unexpected and uncomfortable one—perhaps the only kind that could ever be told by or about Shirley Jackson.”

    Daily Beast

  • “Merrell brings this complicated and compelling woman to life through the kind of taut and intimate thriller Jackson herself would have been proud to call her own.”


  • “A compelling fictional tale.”

    Library Journal

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About the Author

Susan Scarf Merrell is the author of two novels, A Member of the Family and Shirley, and a nonfiction work, The Accidental Bond: How Sibling Connections Influence Adult Relationships. She teaches in the MFA in creative writing and literature at Stony Brook Southampton and is Fiction Editor of TSR: The Southampton Review.