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Download Shirley Jackson : A Rather Haunted Life Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Shirley Jackson : A Rather Haunted Life, by Ruth Franklin 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: Ruth Franklin Narrator: Bernadette Dunne Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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This historically engaging and relevant biography establishes Shirley Jackson as a towering figure in American literature and revives the life and work of a neglected master.

Still known to millions primarily as the author of the “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson (1916–1965) has been curiously absent from the mainstream American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense and psychological horror, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America more deeply than anyone. Now, biographer Ruth Franklin reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the author of such classics as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Placing Jackson within an American gothic tradition that stretches back to Hawthorne and Poe, Franklin demonstrates how her unique contribution to this genre came from her focus on “domestic horror.” Almost two decades before The Feminine Mystique ignited the women’s movement, Jackson’s stories and nonfiction chronicles were already exploring the exploitation and the desperate isolation of women, particularly married women, in American society. Franklin’s portrait of Jackson gives us “a way of reading Jackson and her work that threads her into the weave of the world of words, as a writer and as a woman, rather than excludes her as an anomaly” (Neil Gaiman).

The increasingly prescient Jackson emerges as a ferociously talented, determined, and prodigiously creative writer in a time when it was unusual for a woman to have both a family and a profession. A mother of four and the wife of the prominent New Yorker critic and academic Stanley Edgar Hyman, Jackson lived a seemingly bucolic life in the New England town of North Bennington, Vermont. Yet, much like her stories, which channeled the occult while exploring the claustrophobia of marriage and motherhood, Jackson’s creative ascent was haunted by a darker side. As her career progressed, her marriage became more tenuous, her anxiety mounted, and she became addicted to amphetamines and tranquilizers. In sobering detail, Franklin insightfully examines the effects of Jackson’s California upbringing, in the shadow of a hypercritical mother, on her relationship with her husband, juxtaposing Hyman’s infidelities, domineering behavior, and professional jealousy with his unerring admiration for Jackson’s fiction, which he was convinced was among the most brilliant he had ever encountered.

Based on a wealth of previously undiscovered correspondence and dozens of new interviews, Shirley Jackson?an exploration of astonishing talent shaped by a damaging childhood and turbulent marriage?becomes the definitive biography of a generational avatar and an American literary giant.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Franklin is the biographer Jackson needed: she tells the story of the author in a way that made me want to reread every word Jackson ever wrote.”

    Neil Gaiman, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “Franklin’s absorbing book not only feelingly creates a portrait of Shirley Jackson the writer but also provides a stirring sense of what it was like to navigate the strictures of American society as a wife, mother, artist, and woman.”

    Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Franklin is a conscientious, lucid biographer, and her book is never less than engaging.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A Shirley Jackson biography seems especially timely…Franklin’s is both broader in scope and more measured in its analysis….[A] masterful account.”

    New Republic

  • “Drawing on a trove of research—including previously unpublished letters and interviews—and her own astute analysis of Jackson’s fiction, Franklin gives her subject her much-deserved due and sets the standard for future literary biographers wrestling with the legacy and the unwarranted inattention of a major figure in twentieth-century American literature.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Seamlessly combines the bitterly ironic story of Jackson’s demanding, self-destructive life…[and] traces the evolution of Jackson’s sensibility as a writer…A precise, revelatory, and moving reclamation of an American literary master.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Franklin ably captures both the life and art of Shirley Jackson…[and] also sees a bigger, more original picture of Jackson as the author of ‘the secret history of American women of her era…Deftly captures the many selves and multiple struggles of a true American original.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Franklin renders a gripping and graceful portrait of the mind, life, and work of groundbreaking American author Shirley Jackson.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A Library Journal Editor’s Pick for September 2016 
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week for September 26, 2016
  • A Houston Chronicle Pick of 13 Intriguing New Titles of Fall
  • A Strand Magazine Pick for Audiobook of the Week
  • A Today Show Pick of Must-Read Books for Fall
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for October 2016
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2016 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year Selection for Nonfiction
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