Don't shake my tree
Shirley Jackson responds to a disappointed reader
Born in 1916 in San Francisco, California, Shirley Jackson was the gifted author of six novels and hundreds of short stories, including one of her most famous works, The Lottery. A fictional tale of an annual ritual that takes place in an American town, it was this chilling story, first published in The New Yorker in 1948, that generated more hate mail and controversy than anything ever printed in the magazine, while also bringing her fully into public view. Five years later, her much less macabre memoir of sorts, Life Among the Savages was published, and its comical account of family life received warm reviews. But this work also provoked anger from certain readers, and Jackson remained unabashed.
Dear Mrs. White,
If you don’t like my peaches, don’t shake my tree.
This letter can be found in the updated edition of the first Letters of Note book. Grab a copy here.