Goodreads Review — The Sundial by Shirley Jackson

The Sundial by Shirley Jackson

Rich people hide inside their mansion, isolated from the peasant rabble, and there they sit, surrounded by the luxury of generational wealth, waiting for the end of the world…

I re-read this one at the beginning of the pandemic when everyone was stockpiling groceries and TP… and had to laugh when I came to the part in the novel when the characters burn all the books in the library only to fill their shelves with groceries and TP.

Things change, the more they remain the same…

The Sundial is a dark look at human nature, told through the eyes of Shirley Jackson, and one familiar with her personal history as an affluent West Coast debutant-turned bohemian New Yorker transplanted to rural Vermont will understand Jackson’s casting of the villagers as always ‘other’ — a slightly savage force to be endured, while the highly diverse and at times, hilariously misfit, collection of wealthy characters huddled together inside the mansion maintain their rich comforts… even one crowning themselves as leader in the new world.

The darkly hilarious portrayals of wealth and privilege at the expense of the working class are what make Jackson’s work so powerful; this is beyond a preapocalyptic prepping story, this is a story of the self-declared chosen few and their entitlement, which remains truly terrifying.

You can see my reviews at Goodreads.com & be sure to visit my Goodreads Author Page



Goodreads Book Review — Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

Cover of Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


True psychological horror. The darkness behind suburban affluence is apparent in Hangsaman, as is the privilege behind seemingly homogenous gated communities. The restraints of family and domesticity, loss of identity and self are threaded throughout.

For fans of Shirley Jackson – some of her short stories make reappearances here. Those familiar with Jackson and know her short stories, biography, and ‘The Birds Nest’ (Lizzy) will see many familiar elements skillfully interwoven in this chilling coming of age story about 17 year old Natalie going off to college; which strangely echoes Bennington, where Jackson’s own husband works —
and where terrible things happen.

Told at times through such a close and perspective the events unfolding around Natalie may be unclear, but key elements of her life (such as a father/husband figure openly carrying out an extramarital relationship with a neighbour at a garden party while her mother is inside the house and that same mother’s own mental health issues) echo the events in Jackson’s personal life.

One ‘complaint’ is that this novel at times feels like three disparate novellas stuck together; with a distinct part one, two, and three, carrying through the same main character through a disconcerting change in settings and surrounding action with each part being able to stand on its own. Honestly, the opening scenes of the garden party are worth reading as an accompaniment to Jackson’s own life, and the continuing adventures of Natalie going to school carry the reader further into psychological distress.

Themes of darkness, seeking self, and identity throughout. TRIGGER WARNING SA.

You can see my reviews at Goodreads.com & be sure to visit my Goodreads Author Page

Goodreads and Amazon Author — Liz McAdams

I am very excited to be an Amazon Author, and now my work is on Goodreads too. I adore doing book reviews, so please drop by my Goodreads Author page, and if you’d like me to review your work I’m happy to oblige. Drop me a line by email lizmcadams2000@gmail.com

As an added bonus for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, I’ve just released two twinned compilations of short stories — LIGHT and DARK each filled with a selection of favourites and newly published short stories.

Enjoy.

~Liz

TWO FULL NOVELS ON AMAZON:

FREE TO KINDLE UNLIMITED SUBSCRIBERS

BEAR is quite possibly the most realistic paranormal shapeshifter romance you will ever encounter, bushcraft is real, and bears act like, well, bears.

In the midst of a turbulent divorce, Kate sets off to check out her recent inheritance, a small cabin nestled in the mountainous wilderness of Colorado.

As Kate arrives in town, she meets Reid, a local outfitter and backwoodsman. After convincing him to be her guide to the remote cabin, the two are trapped by wicked snow squalls, rendering the mountain impassable. Trapped alone in the cabin, the two are drawn together by a force neither can deny.

Once together, they are driven apart by explosive tempers, long distances and a darker secret…

In a journey through love, longing, and a mighty shade of pissed off, their relationship follows the path of a faded love story, emerging from a handful of letters found in the cabin… and a dark shadow in the wilderness.

Lot 149 is a graphic horror story about Keira, a recently divorced woman who purchases a decaying old farmhouse with a truly spectacular history.

The farmhouse was bought cheap – power of sale, and at stroke of a pen, Lot 149 was hers –

“It’s just a light flickering, must be faulty wiring or something – isn’t it?”

Country living, a tidy divorce settlement and a job promotion that allowed remote work – this farmhouse would be a fresh start for both Keira and her son Tad, a break they so badly needed.

“Sure it needs work — but don’t we all?”

Leaving the big city behind, Kiera embraces country living and is intent on following the latest developments in organic farming; however, she soon realizes how much work is involved in restoring the farmhouse. To help with repairs, she calls in Frank, a handyman and pest control guy.

“It’s a house with a history, that’s all. Plays tricks with your mind. Most old houses are like that.”

And then they realize what being in full possession of Lot 149 really means…

LIGHT — when memory plays tricks on you, and the shadows flickering at the corner of your eye become so much more – or when things are never just as they seem – this is the place where true magic exists. Foxes, snow globes, knitting needles, and a foreign ambassador come together in this diverse collection of short stories.

LIGHT contains some of my favourite short stories, ‘lighter’ in tone than my usual horror, they all play with your understanding of what reality truly is.

And, dear friend, be careful what you wish for… because you might get more than you expected.

DARK — alien insects, blood spatter, serial killers, crows, and holiday shoppers – all with a darkness.

Let’s face it, bad things happen, and not everything can be explained. Welcome to the dark side.

(OFFICIAL NOTICE *Trigger Warning* for the DARK collection – there is some heavy stuff in that book)

LIGHT / DARK are companions to each other; and yet each book stands alone. This twinning of short story collections brings together the highlights of fantasy and adventures in darkness.

WHAT AND WHERE

For the latest on where to find me, check out Twitter or Facebook (or even drop me an email). Be sure to check out my Amazon Author page — Liz McAdams and my Goodreads Author page and reviews on there too; and hey, I’ve even crept into Instagram (shhhh… don’t tell anyone 😉