Don’t Forget the Peanuts!


Just finished listening to the audiobook Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin, which I enjoyed (mostly). I am by no means complete on Jackson, but I read The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Already Lived in the Castle when I was younger as well as a smattering of the short fiction, mostly from her posthumous Come Along With Me. Given her deep connection with my little corner of literature, I was interested (and fearful) to discover what, if any, attitudes Jackson had towards sf&f. But Franklin gives us very little, complaining about how Jackson has been pigeonholed as a "horror writer." Franklin is very thorough on "The Lottery" obviously, but doesn't even mention "One Ordinary Day With Peanuts," which I believe may have been my introduction to Jackson. I probably read it Judith Merrill's The Best Of The Best. What a strange and lovely story, hardly genre at all in terms of content, but brilliantly twisted conceptually! I suspect, but have no proof, that Franklin slights this little masterpiece because of the taint of genre. since it was first published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and most of Jackson's works appeared in the slicks. But hey, Ruth, "Peanuts" was reprinted in The Best American Short Stories 1956! It got more traction than most of the other stories you discuss! Still, Franklin's book is worth a listen, sez me.