Title: The Missing Girl
Writer: Shirley Jackson
Publishing House: Penguin Modern
Date of Publication: February 22nd 2018
Rating: 5 stars
‘’It was one of those spring mornings in March; the sky between the buildings was bright and blue and the city air, warmed by motors and a million breaths, had a freshness and a sense of excitement that can come only from a breeze starting somewhere in the country, far away, and moving into the city while everyone is asleep, to freshen the air for morning.’’
In the universe of Shirley Jackson’s stories, the reader is thrown into a vertigo of uneasiness that gradually escalates to dread and questions on the subconscious, mental health and a vague hint of the Occult. The atmosphere is always a surreal, mystical, witch and witty scenery where the characters try to balance between Reality and a hallucinatory world, living in a time of instability and uncertainty.
The Missing Girl: A young girl goes missing from a camp. However, as the search unfolds, we gradually realise that the missing girl may have nothing to do with camp. In fact, it questionable whether she exists at all…
Journey With a Lady: A young bow travels alone to visit his grandparents. A young woman comes to sit by him while a policeman is searching for a thief on the train. This is a moving story on the bond of a woman and a child, on recognising your mistakes and taking responsibility for your actions. I read a comment that claimed the story was boring. Question: How much of an idiot are you, actually? I mean, honestly!!
Nightmare: We all have experienced that one dream where we are walking alone and without purpose, somehow knowing that we are lost, trapped even, while crowds of passers-by suffocate us. In this story that reads like a rushing nightmare, a young woman who works in New York is walking in the avenues of the metropolis and realises that there is a strange contest. People need to find ‘’Miss X’’ to win unimaginable trophies. The descriptions and clues change by the minute and our protagonist begins to suspect that ‘’Miss X’’ might actually be her. The ending is enticing and flawless.
Beyond the uneasiness and the uncertainty lies the issue of the definition of the Modern Woman and her place in society and the big city. Do we succumb or do we use the facade of assimilation as a weapon? And can we actually defeat Fate and its harbingers?
‘’Miss X, find Miss X. She is walking in the city, she is walking alone.’’