Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings

From the renowned author of “The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House, a spectacular new volume of previously unpublished and uncollected stories, essays, and other writings.
 
Shirley Jackson is one of the most important American writers of the last hundred years. Since her death in 1965, her place in the landscape of twentieth-century fiction has grown only more exalted.
 
As we approach the centenary of her birth comes this astonishing compilation of fifty-six pieces—more than forty of which have never been published before. Two of Jackson’s children co-edited this volume, culling through the vast archives of their mother’s papers at the Library of Congress, selecting only the very best for inclusion.
 
Let Me Tell You brings together the deliciously eerie short stories Jackson is best known for, along with frank, inspiring lectures on writing; comic essays about her large, boisterous family; and whimsical drawings. Jackson’s landscape here is most frequently domestic: dinner parties and bridge, household budgets and homeward-bound commutes, children’s games and neighborly gossip. But this familiar setting is also her most subversive: She wields humor, terror, and the uncanny to explore the real challenges of marriage, parenting, and community—the pressure of social norms, the veins of distrust in love, the constant lack of time and space.
 
For the first time, this collection showcases Shirley Jackson’s radically different modes of writing side by side. Together they show her to be a magnificent storyteller, a sharp, sly humorist, and a powerful feminist.
 
This volume includes a Foreword by the celebrated literary critic and Jackson biographer Ruth Franklin.

Praise for Let Me Tell You
 
“Stunning.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Let us now—at last—celebrate dangerous women writers: how cheering to see justice done with [this collection of] Shirley Jackson’s heretofore unpublished works—uniquely unsettling stories and ruthlessly barbed essays on domestic life.”—Vanity Fair
 
“[Let Me Tell You] feels like an uncanny dollhouse: Everything perfectly rendered, but something deliciously not quite right.”—NPR
 
“There are . . . times in reading [Jackson’s] accounts of desperate women in their thirties slowly going crazy that she seems an American Jean Rhys, other times when she rivals even Flannery O’Connor in her cool depictions of inhumanity and insidious cruelty, and still others when she matches Philip K. Dick at his most hallucinatory. At her best, though, she’s just incomparable.”—The Washington Post
 
“[Let Me Tell You] offers insights into the vagaries of [Jackson’s] mind, which was ruminant and generous, accommodating such diverse figures as Dr. Seuss and Samuel Richardson.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

“A master of uncanny suspense, Jackson wrote sentences that crept up on the reader, knife in hand. Throughout these previously unpublished pieces, whether short stories about Main Street murders or Jackson’s description of her own eerie writing process (sleepwalking and ghosts helped), the author’s mordant wit and nuanced prose are often shiver-inducing.”—New York
 
“Some things never change: Jackson’s wry observations about keeping house in the 1950s (collected here along with essays and stories) are as spot-on today as they were when she wrote them.”—Good Housekeeping

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

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3 Comments

  1. Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings It would be trite, but maybe not inaccurate, to suggest that the scope of Shirley Jackson’s posthumous short fiction career is an irony worth of the author herself. Only one collection, The Lottery, with its famous title story and 24 others, appeared during her lifetime. Shortly after her death her husband put together a second collection, featuring fourteen uncollected or unpublished stories, an unfinished novel, and miscellaneous other works. In the 1990s two of her children assembled…

  2. A dream come true for anyone who loves the writing of Shirley Jackson! What a gift this book is! I kept being reminded of a Jack Finney story where a man goes into an alternate time line where his favorite authors have written a lot more books than they actually did. This felt like that—a whole big book full of Shirley Jackson writing! And it’s great writing. I’ve read other collections like this of various works of other authors where it felt like what you were reading were leftovers that were cold—writing that was never before published for a reason. I…

  3. Let me tell you about “Let me tell you” Shirley Jackson is one of the greatest American writers ever, in my book. When in high school I read her short story “The Lottery,” probably her most famous short story, and I was hooked. Her writing does not disappoint, another author who is an admirer (Stephen King) once wrote about her (this is not a direct quote, just what I remember) that she was the writer who never needed to use her voice. The discovery and publication of this latest collection of her work does not disappoint…

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