Review: Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson



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…


This is a really generous collection of short stories. There are 17 in this book in total, with the longest being only 24 pages (which feels like loads after reading 10 page stories practically all the way through)! I have reviewed each story that made up part of this book, giving each of them a star rating.

The Possibility of Evil – 3 stars
I wasn’t all that interested in this short until right at the very end. The last line was fantastically horrible.

Louisa, Please Come Home – 3 stars
Hm. This one was good but not great. It was sad, more than anything.

Paranoia – 5 stars
This story was great! It gripped me right from the start and had my heart pounding as Mr Beresford was rushing to get home and away from “light hat”. Fantastically creepy ending too.

The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith – 2 stars
I liked the prose and everything but I didn’t get it? Probably me just being stupid but… yeah.

The Story We Used to Tell – 3 stars
There was certainly an eeriness about this story but I didn’t like how it took on a sort of paranormal turn, when the rest of the stories have been based on human nature.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – 2 stars
This one was just really dull in comparison to the other ones.

Jack the Ripper – 4 stars
I liked this one because it was creepy and kind of left you to your own imagination. I love any kind of story that focuses on the Ripper because everyone makes him their own.

The Beautiful Stranger – 3 stars
If you can’t already tell from my previous mini reviews, I prefer the creepy stories, and this wasn’t that, but it was still an interesting story, just not my favourite.

All She Said Was Yes – 4 stars
I liked this story because it was a little bit different and the ending has you going “No! No! Don’t do it!”. I like it when a book conjures up that emotion from you.

What a Thought – 4 stars
Hasn’t just about everyone had a murderous thoughts before? This was a good story because I could relate to some of it. (That all sounds so bad, don’t worry, I’m not planning on ever killing anyone).

The Bus – 4 stars
I really liked this one! It got super creepy when she arrived at the old house and I loved the twist ending!

Family Treasures – 3 stars
I enjoyed this one all the way up to then end. Girls are so terribly bitchy, Jackson got the atmosphere in the house perfectly right!

A Visit – 3 stars
I liked how the mystery built in this story but I didn’t particularly like how to story ended. I also felt that the timings were a little all over the place, which confused me at some parts.

The Good Wife – 3 stars
I didn’t mind this story but it was very predictable. I was hoping the end wouldn’t be what I was expecting it to be, but alas.

The Man in the Woods – 4 stars
This story had a bit of a fairy tale feel to it, which made it a lot more enjoyable for me. The residents of the woodland house were weird and eerie which gave this short an overall creepy feel.

Home – 4 stars
OK, so I know I said earlier in this review that I didn’t like one of the stories taking on a paranormal element, but I liked it in this one! It kind of reminded me of Beetlejuice because of the bridge lol.

The Summer People – 4 stars
Eep, this one was freaky! I liked the whole creepy local community vibe it had to it and how the Allison’s were no longer welcome… Very good end to this collection of shorts.

Overall, there was a lot of great stories in this one! I love Jackson’s way of writing, it’s so easy to read. I would love to pick up this collection again one day.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books UK for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

Book Details:

Pages: 208
Edition Published: 
2016, Penguin Classics
Genre: Short Stories, Horror, Fiction
Goodreads Av. Rating: 4.04

5 Replies to “Review: Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson”

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