Saturday, April 26, 2014

“We’ll have to name him something,” Phyllis said.

I think Shirley’s use of the name Circe was to make sure that the reader understands the mythological components, just in case he hadn’t noticed. The symbols are abundant and almost playful, such as suggesting the Fool and his dog from the tarot as a previous, unsuccessful visitor. My mother took great care with the names of her characters. When their names are common, that is intentional, and when she names them Summers and Graves and Constance and Oakes she does so with much meaning.

....Shirley gives us a lot of information in few words; her images are complex and symbolic. She structured her stories with seriousness and craft. Her writing is very compact, and she does not waste words or toss things in meaninglessly. When she repeats words, it is to make certain that the reader has not somehow missed them. She expected a certain literacy from her reader, or at least the ability to pay attention, since she considered the writer and reader to be partners.

 - Shirley Jackson's son on "The Man in the Woods"

(cannot WAIT for that new collection) (am now also REALLY looking forward to Ruth Franklin's new bio, because I finished her book on Holocaust fiction last night and that was fucking amazing)