9781631493416 198

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life


Ruth Franklin (Author)

Our Retail Price:£12.99

Add to Basket


Reviving the life and work of a neglected master, this biography establishes Shirley Jackson as a towering figure in American literature.

A genius of literary suspense, known to millions as the author of the “The Lottery”, Shirley Jackson (1916–1965) plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America better than anyone. Based on a wealth of previously undiscovered correspondence and dozens of interviews, Shirley Jackson reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the author, firmly placing Jackson within the American Gothic tradition.


“... lively and authoritative new biography.” — The Economist

“This new biography... could not be more welcome or timely... Her [Ruth Franklin's] critical grasp of Jackson's oeuvre is superlative and you do not doubt a word she says: this is most definitely an exhaustive biography.” — Julie Myerson, The Spectator

“Franklin has gained access to a trove of new material including a fascinating correspondence between Jackson and a housewife fan in the early 1960s. Our sense of there being "two Shirleys" is not encouraged by the author, who makes a convincing case for seeing the two personas instead as "profoundly interconnected".” — The Times Literary Supplement

“Franklin’s masterful biography, deeply researched and warmly sympathetic to its subject, paints a different picture, successfully marrying the various elements of Jackson’s personality – writer and homemaker, gifted literary author and popular mummy-blogger memoirist.” — Literary Review

“... sympathetic and fair-minded biography…” — The Guardian

“Franklin... gives equal weight to Jackson’s life and work in this groundbreaking new biography.” — Jane Ciabattari, The 10 Best Books of 2016, BBC Culture

“...Ruth Franklin skilfully and with great verve and readability paints a portrait of a woman with many faces in this slick and stylish biography.” — The Mail on Sunday

“Ruth Franklin’s Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life is a richly satisfying biography: capacious, incisive, and full of surprising insights into the legacy of this “Virginia Werewolf among the séance-fiction writers” (as a short-sighted mid-century writer once dubbed her).” — Kate Bolick, Our Favourite Books of 2016, The Irish Times

“... enjoyable biography...” — Dan Jones, The Times

“In her biography...Ruth Franklin plays down the broomstick tag and skilfully unpicks the threads of Jackson's life and works.” — The Arts Desk

“... gloriously comprehensive book.” — SciFi Now

“... a wonderful, intriguing, warmhearted biography of the author of The Lottery. Franklin, like her subject, is just so darned readable...” — The Bookseller

“This is a skilled and deeply researched portrait of a curious woman and accomplished writer who retains the power to torment and unsettle readers...” — The Times

“Franklin’s biography looks at the inner darkness that fuelled a unique literary talent.” — The Telegraph


Short-Listed — Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award, 2017