The Road Through The Wall By Shirley Jackson
Published by Penguin Classics
Published 5 September 2013 (first published 1948)
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
In Pepper Street, an attractive suburban neighbourhood filled with bullies and egotistical bigots, the feelings of the inhabitants are shallow and selfish: what can a neighbour do to triumph over another neighbour, what may be won from a friend? One child stands alone in her goodness: little Caroline Desmond, kind, sweet and gentle, and the pride of her family. But the malice and self-absorption of the people of Pepper Street lead to a terrible event that will destroy the community of which they are so proud.
Exposing the murderous cruelty of children, and the blindness and selfishness of adults, Shirley Jackson reveals the ugly truth behind a ‘perfect’ world.
The weather falls more gently on some places than on others, the world looks more paternally on some people.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The Road through the Wall isn’t what I was expecting at all. I’ve read and loved her books, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle so was expecting something similar. The Road through the Wall is quite different altogether. I really enjoyed this book. The residents of Pepper Street are quite horrible people; selfish, spiteful and quite nasty. I felt no sympathy for anyone who lived on the street. The only decent character is three-year-old Caroline Desmond who will likely be as awful as everyone around her when she grows up. The Road through the Wall takes a much darker, unexpected turn towards the end. This dark, sinister turn made me enjoy the book much more. Until this point I thought the book was an okay read but the dark overtones in the last couple of chapters caused the book to go up in my expectations. The Road through the wall in one of Jackson’s earlier novels and is well worth a read to see the start of the sort of writer she will become.