Just An Ordinary Day by Shirley Jackson

A collection of unpublished and previously uncollected short stories by the reigning queen of gothic Americana.

Short stories are not usually my cup of tea, because they’re over far too quickly. But I’ll read anything that Shirley Jackson writes, and I really enjoyed the stories found in Just An Ordinary Day, which I’ve been reading in fits and starts for several months.

Oddly enough, my favorites were among the unpublished pieces. In particular, I greatly enjoyed “My Recollections of S.B. Fairchild,” about a mail order department store purchase gone terribly wrong. There’s nothing unheimich about the story; rather, it’s a sharply conceived, tightly executed piece of American satire whose quotidian-ness is an asset, not a liability.

What I admire most about Jackson is her precision. I really don’t know if any modern writer as prolific as Jackson also produces such relentlessly perfect prose.

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