A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Saturday Shorts Week 11
Welcome to our weekend series for 2014. Every Saturday this year one of our staff will suggest a favorite short story from the library’s collection, all of them a great choice for quick weekend reading.
Dearest Anne, by the time you get this I will be married. Doesn’t it sound funny? I can hardly believe it myself, but when I tell you how it happened, you’ll see it’s even stranger than that…
Shirley Jackson is great at evoking nightmares. No, “The Daemon Lover” is not necessarily the wake-up-screaming kind. Finishing this story feels more like slipping slowly back to reality in a haze of dread and confusion. Sometimes those nightmares are the worst of all.
It’s our narrator’s wedding day, or so it seems, and her natural sense of anticipation just keeps building and building until it’s full-on angst. The morning starts off with a letter to her sister—a rather cryptic little letter that gets torn-up before it’s finished. She worries her sheets aren’t clean. Her first dress isn’t what she wanted. The second dress isn’t the thing either. There’s no food for tomorrow’s breakfast. Shouldn’t she at least get some bread for toast? Eggs maybe? We get the feeling that this is all being rushed. Something isn’t quite right. And then the groom doesn’t show…
I won’t give too much more away. It’s not an altogether surprising, nor altogether satisfying ending. I love it anyway—but then again, I like open-ended and perplexing tales. If you want a little bit of a back story, look into the traditional Scottish ballad “James Harris“. It provides the story with it’s title, the missing groom with his name, and it’s referenced elsewhere in Jackson’s classic collection The Lottery.
Review by Matthew