Author(s): Susan Scarf Merrell
Best known for her short story 'The Lottery', Shirley Jackson is a fascinating figure whose chilling tales of psychological suspense are still widely read and taught. In this darkly captivating novel, Merrell uses the facts of Jackson's life as a springboard to explore the 1964 disappearance of Paula Weldon, a Bennington College student. Told through the eyes of Rose Nemser - the wife of a graduate student working with Jackson's husband, a Bennington professor - Shirley reimagines the connections between Jackson's volatile marriage and one of the era's great unsolved mysteries.
Merrell brilliantly weaves events from Jackson s life into a hypnotic story line that will please Jackson fans as well as anyone in search of a solidly written literary thriller .Its merit lies in its inventiveness even as it draws inspiration from Jackson s own stories .[a] dazzling yet dark tale One of the best things about "Shirley" is that you don t have to be familiar with Jackson s stories to enjoy it. Carol Memmott, "The Washington Post" [A] totally explosive thriller starring the fascinating late author as the main character. " Entertainment Weekly" Jackson has always been one of the more intriguing and misunderstood writers of her generation, a woman writer at the cusp of feminism s second wave who nevertheless was erroneously dismissed for writing mere domestic fiction. Merrell brings this complicated and compelling woman to life through the kind of taut and intimate thriller Jackson herself would have been proud to call her own. " Booklist" Brooding A sidelong portrait of a category-defying writer dovetails surprisingly snugly with the drama of one young woman s coming-of-age. "Kirkus " A compelling fictional tale. "Library Journal " [A] precisely accurate look at the sexual and intellectual failures that real love must allow for and survive, and a darkly fantastical meditation on magic, revenge, love, and reality .The brilliance of Jackson s life and Merrell s writing is that they convey [a] depth and beauty In the end, "Shirley" is a love story, albeit an unexpected and uncomfortable one perhaps the only kind that could ever be told by or about Shirley Jackson. " The Daily Beast" To the great literature of obsession we can now add Susan Scarf Merrell s brilliant and captivating Shirley, a novel as full of passion and intrigue as any traditional love story. The twist is that the obsessive in these pages is a quiet young academic wife and the object of her fascination is none other than gothic storyteller Shirley Jackson. A fantastically original book. Ann Packer, author of "Swim Back to Me" and "The Dive from Clausen s Pier" Susan Scarf Merrell writes about desire, female friendship, and obsession with a true storyteller s sense of the human heart. Shirley Jackson and her husband Stanley Hyman, giants in the world of twentieth century letters, make for a brilliant intersection of vivid fiction and literary myth set in the vortex that is North Bennington, Vermont. Shirley is a love story that will keep you up all night. Susan Cheever, author of "e.e. cummings, a life""
SUSAN SCARF MERRELL is the author of a previous novel, "A Member of the Family, " and a nonfiction work, "The Accidental" "Bond: How Sibling Connections Influence" "Adult Relationships." She teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literature at Stony Brook Southampton and is Fiction Editor of TSR: The Southampton Review.