Short Story Sunday: The Summer People, Shirley Jackson

The Summer People, Shirley Jackson

This unsettling creeper about a couple who at last retire to their summer home isn’t as widely known as Jackson’s “The Lottery,” and that’s just a shame

The Dark Descent

(although I did find out that someone turned it into a one-act stage play. There are no copies of that available anywhere, however). The dread is palpable—and the end leaves you breathless. I discovered this by accident in the 1997 anthology The Dark Descent. This seems to be the only place I can find the story in print; any collections of hers I’ve searched don’t seem to have it:


Lately I’ve been working on the overwhelming task of thinning out my book collection; it’s something no book lover likes to do, but let’s face it, every once in a while it has to be done, either to clear clutter or make room for more.

It’s no surprise that a good portion of my collection is devoted to short story collections. I’ve read my share of great stories, and I’ve read my share of awful ones—but I’ve also read my share of a few that blew me away to the point at which I’ll never forget them. So instead of doing a typical “Top” list, I decided instead to focus on ones which fall into the last category (please note that in my “about” descriptions I tried to be spoiler-free). Do you have any that have made a lasting impression on you? Leave them in the comments.

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of the New England Horror Writers. Follow her adventures at

Posted on March 13, 2016, in Short Stories and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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