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coffee & ink

Currently reading

Gilbert and Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic after Thirty Years
Annette R. Federico, Sandra M. Gilbert
Annette LaPointe
Hangsaman - Shirley Jackson I'm really excited Penguin has started republishing Jackson's other novels (by which I mean all of them except We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House), but I'm not sure doing them in chronological order was the best idea. The Sundial is just as great as the famous ones, The Bird's Nest isn't as great but has some legitimate terrifying Shirley Jackson disruptions of reality, but Hangsaman is just -- not quite there yet. It's got some of the same disturbing discontinuities and inexplicable but incredibly creepy encounters, but it doesn't quite pull together into one narrative, and the things that it seems to be moving towards in the first section aren't the things it seems to be moving towards in the second section aren't the things it seems to be moving towards in the third section. I'll try to write this up in more detail, but who knows.

There's a lot of acute painful mockery of the gendered hell of a certain class of 50s US white suburbia (the book was published in 1951), but it's hard to laugh for shuddering. Also, I hate the protagonist's father with the kind of loathing I had previously reserved for the fathers in autobiographical novels by Christina Stead.

The incredible social disjunction of the protagonist's first year at college is probably closer to my college experience than anything else I've read, but I have no idea how it will read to people who weren't miserable and lonely in college.