“Hangsaman”, by Shirley Jackson, brilliant learning novel on the verge of madness

The disturbing confessions of a disoriented young girl. A novel published in 1951, extraordinary and powerful, by the American short story writer of the disturbing “Lottery”.

The American edition of the letters of Shirley Jackson (1916-1965), published last summer, revealed that the novelist and short story writer had happened to write to herself – the letter endorsing the mission devolved on the newspaper intimate: reflection, introspection, confession. In the evening solitude of her dorm room, Natalie, the teenage heroine of Hangsaman, does the same, after having left the family home she has just entered university and tries unsuccessfully to blend in with the pseudo-friendliness of campus life. But the confessions she puts down on paper resonate in a very strange way. “I guess you’ve been wondering for a long time, Natalie my dear, what the hell is I thinking.” I guess you noticed too: Natalie looks so weird these days, she seems so reserved, distant and silent, I wonder if she is okay, or if there is something troubling her. “

Natalie talks to Natalie, and together they worry about Natalie… But how many are there? And, among them all, which writes this: “I wonder where people find the words to say all the funny things on their mind. Personally, I go around in circles, I find how things fit together but it is never complete. I believe that if I could tell someone everything, absolutely everything in my head, then I would disappear, I would no longer exist, and I would sink to the bottom of this charming nothingness where worries dissolve, where no one hears or pays attention to you… ” ?

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