Shirley Jackson’s haunting classic short story “The Lottery” made her famous in 1948, and subsequent books cemented her brand of psychological terror. So when she came out with Life Among the Savages in 1953, reviewers were delighted and surprised by her cheery and wry observations of life with four children and husband in a shabby, rambling house in Vermont.
It turns out that Life Among the Savages, and its follow-up, Raising Demons, were idealized (and somewhat-to-fairly fictionalized) portrayals of the family’s chaotic life and individual eccentricities. Read More→
Shirley Jackson (1916 – 1965) occasionally turned to true crime news stories as jumping off points for her novels of psychological terror and suspense. This was apparently the case for her second novel, Hangsaman (1951). Jackson, her husband Stanley Edgar Hyman, and their four children were living in North Bennington when 18-year-old Bennington College freshman Paula Jean Weldon disappeared. She went out for a hike on December 1, 1946, and simply never returned.
There were, and have since been, theories about what might have happened to Weldon, but neither she —nor her body — were ever found.
According to this article in Bustle, “Welden’s story didn’t just inspire local folk tales, it inspired famous novels, too. Her disappearance was supposedly one of the inspirations for The Secret History, author and former Bennington student Donna Tartt’s bestselling debut. It was also apparently the inspiration behind Jackson’s second novel, Hangsaman.” Read More→
Martha Gellhorn was a fearless war correspondent who reported on nearly every major conflict at a time when such female journalists were a rarity.
Her debut as a novelist wasn’t auspicious. What Mad Pursuit was generally panned by critics, if it got any attention at all. One called it “palpable juvenilia;” another stated that it was “a rather futile book.
The story of three college friends seeking fulfillment, meaning, and sexual adventure meet mostly with disappointment — and an STD. Read More→