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Dark Tales

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,223 ratings  ·  203 reviews
For the first time in one volume, a collection of Shirley Jackson's scariest stories, with a foreword by PEN/Hemingway Award winner Ottessa Moshfegh

After the publication of her short story "The Lottery" in the New Yorker in 1948 received an unprecedented amount of attention, Shirley Jackson was quickly established as a master horror storyteller. This collection of classic
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Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Penguin Classics (first published 2013)
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4.05  · 
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 ·  1,223 ratings  ·  203 reviews


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Paromjit
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a superb collection of 17 dark tales by the masterful writer, Shirley Jackson. They are designed to inspire unease and to unsettle. They are wide ranging in subject matter and each is a worthy read. The author has a gifted writing style that transports the reader to surprising and unexpected places. I particularly enjoyed The Good Wife, Paranoia and The Beautiful Stranger. There were occasions I wanted a little more depth and length to a story. A perfect collection for those who enjoy th ...more
Edward
--The Possibility of Evil
--Louisa, Please Come Home
--Paranoia
--The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith
--The Story We Used to Tell
--The Sorcerer's Apprentice
--Jack the Ripper
--The Beautiful Stranger
--All She Said Was Yes
--What a Thought
--The Bus
--Family Treasures
--A Visit
--The Good Wife
--The Man in the Woods
--Home
--The Summer People
Zuky the BookBum
This is a really generous collection of short stories. There are 17 in this book in total, with the longest being only 24 pages (which feels like loads after reading 10 page stories practically all the way through)!

The Possibility of Evil - 3 stars
I wasn’t all that interested in this short until right at the very end. The last line was fantastically horrible.

Louisa, Please Come Home - 3 stars
Hm. This one was good but not great. It was sad, more than anything.

Paranoia - 5 stars
This story wa
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Dannii Elle
DNF'd at 41%

This is one of the few books I have ever failed to finish but, dear God, this was so dull! I have heard that this is probably prolific horror writer, Shirley Jackson's, least popular work and I can see why.

The stories focused on mundane suburbia, which heightened the sinister vibes that haunted each tale. Unfortunately, for me, these stories felt dull and bland. The twists that occurred were interesting and unprecedented, in a handful of them, but never enough to redeem the entire st
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Lotte
'She knew that if she asked her husband to take her to a movie, or out for a ride, or to play gin rummy, he would smile at her and agree; he was always willing to do things to please her, still, after ten years of marriage. An odd thought crossed her mind: she would pick up the heavy glass ashtray and smash her husband over the head with it.'
For me, this short story collection proofed once and for all that Shirley Jackson is the true queen of creating creeping unease and the suburban gothic. All
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Joanne Harris
Shirley Jackson needs no reviews from me: she is simply the best and most nuanced storyteller of unease and suburban discomfort of her generation. So many great writers reflect her influence. Without her, Iain Banks' WASP FACTORY would have been very different; Stephen King's GUNSLINGER books would have lost much of their inspiration and Chris Fowler's short fiction would have been greatly impoverished. All I can say if you haven't read her, is: I envy you a little. You still have this to come.
✨Tamara
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Devilishly dark.
"After her short story 'The Lottery' was published in the New Yorker in 1948, Shirley Jackson quickly established a reputation as a master storyteller of horror. this collection of classic and newly reprinted stories provides readers with more of her unsettling tales, including 'The Possibility of Evil' and 'The Summer People'. In these deliciously dark stories, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide-and-seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts, and the con
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Sam Quixote
Dark Tales is an anthology of Shirley Jackson’s stories made up of previous collections Come Along With Me, Just An Ordinary Day and Let Me Tell You - there’s no new material here. And, let me tell you, it’s also by far the weakest fiction of Jackson’s I’ve read!

I’m a big Shirley Jackson fan. I love The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Lottery and Other Stories, and have re-read each book at least twice, but the stories in Dark Tales are all pretty bad.

Jackson
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Emma
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shirley Jackson here shows her mastery of the short story. Each of these 17 tales reflect normality gone wrong, staring with the world we all know, life 'as it is'. Then at various speeds and levels of intensity, Jackson takes the reader into the unusual, bizarre, unexpected. In some stories it is slipped under your radar so well that you carry on for several sentences or paragraphs after the divergence before you think 'hang on, what?' and have to go back to read it all over again. I'm not nece ...more
Blair
These Dark Tales join the dots between frustration, despair, inertia and the uncanny. Although not all the stories have suburban settings, I can understand why this collection has the tagline 'there's something nasty in suburbia'. Jackson is a master of the horribly banal: more than one story makes getting out of public transport in the wrong place seem like a fate of hideous, insurmountable terror, and there's often a strong sense that characters are unable to escape from situations they would, ...more
Carla Remy
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creepiness, not obvious fright. More of a nightmare dream logic. Which can only mean death or seeing outside of the coils of time. The Bus exemplifies this, also A Visit (which I have read before, in Ladies of Horror, a collection from 1971). I also knew Louisa, Please Come Home from its inclusion in 2013's Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives. Obviously, I enjoyed reading both of these again. I also liked All She Said Was Yes. The Story We Used to Tell is significant in how it relates to certain o ...more
Rheama
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of shorts is my first experience with Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House author, and inspiration to Stephen King.

Things to Know

1. The writing style is dated by long, convoluted sentences and stiff vocab. That kind of prose puts me off classics in general. I admit, I skimmed.

2. However, in many ways, these stories feel right at home in 2017 because Jackson was decades ahead of her time. Most of her narrators are women. The tales themselves are dark and vaguely violent
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Jess at JessicaWrites.co.uk

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Jackson is very subtle with her horror, sly with the sense of creeping claustrophobia and I can't profess my love enough for some of these delightfully twisted little tales.

The 5 STAR reads aka the whatever you do please read these Shirley Jackson short stories because they are literal perfection.
+ The Story We Used to Tell
+ All she said was yes
+ What a thought
+ Paranoia
+ A Visit (also called 'The Lovely House' in some an
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Nikki
Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 6th October 2016

Dark Tales is an interesting little collection of uncanny stories — not stories which are openly horror, but ones with that creeping sense of unease, or that little twist. Like the man who finds someone stalking him all the way home, does his best to avoid him, and when he eventually gets home… his wife calls someone up to tell them she’s got him. Twists like that, and moments where it feels like the story took a left turn from e
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Roman Clodia
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first taster of Shirley Jackson, a writer who has been on my radar for a while: these short stories are gloriously off-kilter, little gems of unease.

Some of them probe the hidden lives of women who appear 'nice' on the surface but have more going on underneath; others seem to channel the paranoia of 1950s USA with the anxiety of McCarthyism displaced onto strange and unsettling situations in urban environments; some are more clearly haunted stories. Jackson skill is to make the everyday (a b
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mathilde maire
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That was one of the best short story collections I've read. The stories were all disturbing but in a very subtle way. The last one, The Summer People, reminded me a lot of The Lottery – do you agree?
Lea
I love Shirley Jackson, I don't know another author like her and some of the short stories in this collection are just incredible. Eery, uncomfortable, strange... But some I didn't quite understand, I must admit. This book is a definite "will read again" and maybe I'll get more out of the ones that confused me this time. If not I'm already looking forward to the ones I loved this time around. One or two reminded me of these Dahl short stories that have stayed with me for years now because they'r ...more
Kirsty
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shirley Jackson's Dark Tales is a new compilation volume for Autumn 2016, coincided to be fittingly released around Hallowe'en. Obviously I was a little late to the party, and ended up reading the collection in November, but found it just as creepy as I would at any other time of year. Most of the stories here have been published in magazines like The New Yorker, but have never seen the light of day in book form.

The seventeen stories here are absolute masterpieces. They are accomplished without
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Daniel
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My life goal is to be a character in a Shirley Jackson story.
Callum McLaughlin
This collection of 'dark tales' isn't about outright scares. Instead, it's focussed far more on creating a tangible atmosphere, and a sort of eerie dream logic. Whilst some flirt with the supernatural, most explore the disturbed side of the human psyche; peeling back the facade of mundane everyday life to shine a light on the menace that lurks beneath polite society.

Jackson presents us with characters and situations that are ever so slightly skewed, building tension to its peak, before abandoni
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Joanne Tinkler (Mamajomakes)
This is the second time I’ve read Shirley Jackson and I feel slightly bewildered by this collection of short stories. I loved the majority of them however there were two or three that I reread because when I finished them I was baffled by the ending and thought that I’d missed something further back that would make the ending make sense.

I do love the delicious darkness of Jackson’s imagination and most of what I’ve read of her writing but I’d give this three and a half out of five.
Kath
Such an amazing, gripping and definitely a must-read short story collection.
Evgenia
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, the lady can write! I marvel at how original each of the many short stories in this collection is, yet almost every one manages to be engaging and, ultimately, shocking.
Katie
Oct 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I don't think ive ever heard of Shirley Jackson before and it was discounted on the kindle app, so I thought why not, its near Halloween time, a few creepy stories wouldn't go amiss.

Possibility of evil : A little old lady mails some letters telling people the gossip of the town, some kids pick up a letter she's dropped. they take it to intended recipients home, and the next day all her roses are chopped up? Like is that it? I turned the page and was like seriously? just as something was startin
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Hannah
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A few hidden gems ('Louisa, Please Come Home,' 'Family Treasures' and 'Home') make the purchase of this collection of Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson a must for horror-aficionados. Even her more conventional tales ('All She Said Was Yes') or even lackluster ('Paranoia') are a good read.
*edit* I am deeply obsessed with horror, particularly short-stories, so what may be new for you in terms of what Jackson creates may be a common occurrence for myself. If you read this, and enjoy it, I recommend the
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Chris
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
These stories are so awesome. On one hand, the stories are wonderfully dark fantasy. On the other hand, you are left wondering how much autobiographical details are interwoven in the story - such as the story with a town gossip, or the married couple fighting.

tortoise dreams
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Seventeen disturbing stories by the author of The Haunting of Hill House and "The Lottery."

Book Review: Dark Tales has some stories that will keep you up at night -- at least they did me. But first a quick origin story (or history lesson) for those obsessed Shirley Jackson fans out there. Despite writing one of the most anthologized stories in history, "The Lottery," and writing loads of other stories to pay the rent, Jackson released only one story collection in her lifetime (originally titled
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Belinda Carvalho
This is a well-written collection but I found it really dull. The sense of horror is so subtle it almost passed me by and a number of stories had me scratching my head afterwards. I felt pretty similar when I listened to an audio play of We've Always Lived in the Castle.
Shirley Jackson is an American author and I think I expect more Americana and American Gothic in her work but for me, it's not really there. The stories feel empty and again, dull.
What does intrigue me though is the sense of para
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Edoardo Albert
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading the dark tales in Dark Tales, I thought: Shirley Jackson is the Union version of Flannery O'Connor: haunted by an absence of God so complete that he has been forgotten. With O'Connor, in extremis there is always the glimpse, the offer of grace, though often ignored. Here, the carapace around the world has grown so hard that horrors come into the light and dwell among us without any concomitant hint of the truly supernatural. This is the world of time twisting into endless traps with no e ...more
Anna || MyBookishDream
My full review.

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

This short story collection was very interesting. The writing style was simply beautiful and captivating and it definitely made me want to read more works by Shirley Jackson, which I hopefully will in the future. The stories were very unnerving, dark and creepy from time to time. It was definitely a fascinating collection and one I would recommend to everyone!
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Shirley Jackson was an influential American author. A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years. She has influenced such writers as Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson.

She is best known for her dystopian short story, "The Lottery" (1948), which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown Ameri
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“Sometimes, when it had been a hard day at school and the future looked unusually dark, Miss Matt would permit herself to cry luxuriously for half an hour; afterward she would wash her face, and dress and go out to some nice restaurant for dinner.” 1 likes
“An odd thought crossed her mind: she would pick up the heavy glass ashtray and smash her husband over the head with it.” 0 likes
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