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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

“New” Shirley Jackson Story and Why You Need To Be Promoting It

This week’s New Yorker features the second of two found stories by the late great Shirley Jackson. While you need to get your hands on the magazine itself to read the story, the book blog for magazine features an interview with Jackson’s son here.

Even if you do not plan to read the new story, read the interview.  As I have professes before in more detail here, Shirley Jackson was a genius.  Her brand of psychological suspense was truly revolutionary, almost shockingly so, when she was first writing, and their remain intensely haunting to this day.

Her tales of literary suspense also prominently featured female characters at a time when that was out of the ordinary.  Her willingness to admit to the dark thoughts and issues surrounding women was what kept Jackson from even more acclaim during her lifetime.  It was too “real” for the mainstream male establishment to handle at the time.

However, I feel like Jackson is getting her due in today’s publishing run to find the next Gone Girl.  When Library Journal ran their Genre Preview on the state of Mysteries in 2014, the top trend was the female driven, literary suspense story.

The ARRT Crime Fiction Genre Study will be covering Jackson in great depth, but not until June of 2015.  I can’t wait that long to sing Jackson’s praises.  And you shouldn’t either.  Start passing out your collections of Jackson’s stories to your Gone Girl fans while they wait for the new titles listed  in the LJ article to come out. And while you’re at it, grab them the “new” Jackson story from The New Yorker too.

I can promise you some happy patrons, many of whom may be shocked to find out that this new trend in mysteries goes back into the middle of the last century.

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