Shirley Jackson

One consequence was Jackson’s increasing reclusiveness. This shows in the uneven stories, and they add proof to my theory that lesser works reveal much more of the writer’s mind and circumstances than finished and finely wrought fictions. What is Jackson’s landscape? Where are the road trips and the open skies and the noodle salad in the picnic area? They do not exist. Hers are fictions of interiors; her world is a house — an ideal cast of mind for someone writing ghost stories. And the larger the house, the more numerous the rooms, the greater the possibility for menace. It’s obvious that Jackson kept herself to her house and then made something of it — sometimes denying its misery with her litany of domestic satisfactions and jollifications, at others making it into darkness, in the tone of the captive she presumably felt herself to be.

Paul Theroux, ‘Let Me Tell You,’ by Shirley Jackson, The New York Times