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Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson
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Life Among the Savages

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Narrator Kate Handford

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Length 7 hours 5 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

A darkly funny account of family life from the author of The Haunting of Hill House and The Lottery


'Sometimes, in my capacity as a mother, I find myself sitting open-mouthed and terrified before my own children'

As well as being a master of the macabre, Shirley Jackson was also a pitch-perfect chronicler of everyday family life. In Life Among the Savages, her caustically funny account of raising her children in a ramshackle house in Vermont, she deals with rats in the cellar, misbehaving imaginary friends, an oblivious husband and ever-encroaching domestic chaos, all described with wit, warmth and plenty of bite.

'Jackson's family chronicles have a genuinely subversive aspect ... Read today, her pieces feel surprisingly modern - mainly because she refuses to sentimentalize or idealize motherhood' The New York Times Book Review

'Comic masterpieces, laced with hints of the discontent that lies beneath' Guardian

ยฉ Shirley Jackson 1953 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

Shirley Jackson was born in California in 1916. When her short story, 'The Lottery', was first published in the New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent her hate mail; it has since become one of the most iconic American stories of all time. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, was published in the same year and was followed by Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece. In addition to her dark, brilliant novels, she wrote lightly fictionalized magazine pieces about family life with her four children and her husband, the critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. Shirley Jackson died in 1965.

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Reviews

Is it ironic or fitting that some of the greatest American writing about that venerated and difficult activity, motherhood, comes from a horror writer? ... There is something rather magical about how Jackson managed to so transform suffering into comic masterpieces As warm as it is hilarious and believable ... Never has the state of domestic chaos been so perfectly illuminated Warm and funny ... Read today, her pieces feel surprisingly modern - mainly because Jackson refuses to sentimentalize or idealize motherhood Charming ... You'll see every parenting stance you've ever adopted, every parent-story trope you've ever told or heard, expressed more perfectly than you ever could have ... One of the great memoirists of family life A housewife-mother's frustrations are transformed by a deft twist of the wrist into, not a grim account of disintegration and madness, still less the poisoning of her family, but light-hearted comedy Expand reviews
Celebrate our 10th Anniversary with giveaways, merch, and more! Learn more