Dark Tales, by Shirley Jackson

Title: Dark Tales

Author: Shirley Jackson

Publisher: Penguin Classics, a part of Penguin Random House

Genre: Horror 

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 195

Recommended for: All ages


Step into the unsettling world of Shirley Jackson this autumn with a collection of her finest, darkest short stories, revealing the queen of American gothic at her mesmerising best.

There’s something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods…

Includes the following stories: ‘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’.

My review:

Never having read Shirley Jackson’s works before, I was pleasantly surprised to go through this collection. Dark Tales is an anthology of short stories – full of elements of horror, and the supernatural, or darkness.

I also read this book as a part of the #readyoshelf reading challenge hosted by my dear friend Gayatri (@per_fictionist).

Having experienced this myself, I would really recommend that new readers of this genres may start with this one. This is a collection of short stories and as such, quite easy to read and short as well, so that new readers may not feel any commitment issues. What is creepy is that these events may happen to just about anyone and that fact itself is enough to give one goosebumps.

I truly enjoyed all of these stories; however, the ones that stuck were – ‘Louisa, Please Come Home’; ‘All She Said Was Yes’; ‘A Visit’; ‘The Man in the Woods’; ‘Home’; and ‘The Summer People’.

I could say that I am definitely a fan of her writing and hope to pick up ‘We have always lived in the Castle’ and ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ soon.


I really enjoyed this book and I rate it a 4/5 stars.

About the author:

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.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

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