Shirley Jackson’s “lost” story is published, in which the author of The Haunting of Hill House shows a miniature of racism and racism in US society through a disgruntled women’s journey to corner shop.
Adventure on a Bad Night follows Vivien as she embarks on an afternoon walk, leaving her husband George, and the monotony of her life, behind for a moment. “If she left straight away she could stay out in the air for 20 minutes or so do before nightfall starts tomorrow morning, with breakfast and dust and the phone.” While out, she meets a heavy immigrant who gets a bad speech from a shop clerk after asking for help. “I know that kind of thing,” the clerk tells Vivien. “You think they can’t understand a word, but you tell them ‘Yes I will for you’ and they immediately understand. I’m just doing them until they’re gone. ”
Andrew Gulli, who is publishing the story for the first time on Thursday in Strand magazine, said he showed “why Jackson’s work has been re-evaluated and has been so popular in recent years. past ”. Jackson died in 1965 at the age of 48, leaving novels including We Have Always Lived in the Castle and short stories including The Lottery. Stephen King describes Haunting of Hill House as one of “just two great supernatural novels of the last 100 years”, with Jackson’s writing published today by authors ranging from Neil Gaiman to Joyce Carol Oates.
“She had the unparalleled talent to say so much with so little she could minimize the problems of the society, and personal responsibility in a very humble situation, be it a small town, a store of amenities, suburban home cellar ”Gulli said. “In these challenging times, we need this message from Jackson about a shared humanity and how heroes who fight prejudice and ignorance can make a difference. ”
Jackson’s son, Laurence Hyman, said he found the story “among many others hard-filled in 52 cartons at the Library of Congress”. All of Jackson’s papers were taken to the library by her husband Stanley a few years after her death.
Hyman believes that the unpublished piece was written in 1944. “At that time my mother was developing her ‘noirish’ voice, and she was writing many short stories which were then published in magazines like the New Yorker and the New Republic, ”he said. “It seems to have happened in New York during the war years because there is a reference – although it was issued by Shirley – to ration books. The story is interesting; it falls with tension from the first sentence onwards, and ends with a beginning. ”
Hyman said that when his mother died in 1965, she was “at the top of her game”, but over the next 30 years her popularity fled – she was out of print in the UK until 2009. Hyman took over ran her estate in the 1990s and returned her books to shelves, with the remake of The Haunting (“a rather poor film”) helping to begin her fame in 1999. Recently, Netflix has streamed its own adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House, and Hyman and his sister have compiled two collections of Jackson stories and articles, Just the Ordinary Day and Let Me Tell You, with a book of the her collected letters out next summer.
“There’s a lot going on – movies, stage changes, episodic TV changes, touring ballet, even the fictional movie [the 2020 film Shirley], ”Hyman said. “I think my mum would be very happy to pay full attention to her work, and I’m sure the relevance of her work today would be very difficult. She tends to look at this as humorous. She would have no shortage of gags toss to add. ”
Hyman said his mother was “never fond of personal exposure or having her photograph taken, but she certainly enjoyed reading her work, and, better yet, understanding it. She would be surprised to realize how attractive her work is today. The ‘evil potential’ she saw, even on a sunny spring day, is still with us, more than ever. ”