Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shirley Jackson - Crazy Good

Shirley Jackson is of course best known for The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House.  This lesser-known novel is way more twisted.  Two sisters, one in her twenties one in her teens, live with their disabled Uncle Julian in a huge house that’s going to seed.  Their extended family is dead - arsenic in the tea.  Who would do such a thing?  The town folk assume the older sister, Constance, is at fault.  Now Constance won’t leave the house.  So Mary Catherine, ‘Merricat’ has to go to town for supplies and face the hostile citizenry.  The local children have even composed a little Lizzie-Bordenesque ditty to express their opinion of the family.  Ahem.”Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea? Oh no, said Merricat you’ll poison me.”  Merrricat, our narrator, is nuts. She protects herself from these taunts with a heaping spoonful of magical thinking.  The old ‘if I don’t see a dog in the next 3 blocks I’ll get home safe’ kind of thing.  Both the sisters and the uncle are quite content with their bizarre little lives. Until a good-looking male cousin upsets the teacart. Here’s a hint:  things don’t get better. Just more interesting.   One of my favorite books ever, highly recommended!  Our copies don't have this cool cover but don't let that stop you!

1 comment:

Jim said...

I loved this book. I read it right after the Haunting of Hill House.