The Road Through the Wall

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The Road Through the Wall
a drawn picture of a road cutting through a brick wall
The original cover of The Road Through the Wall
Author Shirey Jackson
Country United States
Language English
Set in 1936
Publisher Farrar, Straus
Publication date
Media type
  • hardcover novel
  • paperback
Pages 220[1]
ISBN 978-0445031289 second edition, 1976
Followed by 'Hangsaman'

The Road Through the Wall is a 1948 novel by author Shirley Jackson. It draws upon Jackson's own experiences growing up in Burlingame, California.[2]


The Road Through the Wall was Jackson's first novel. She began writing it while her husband, literature critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, was writing a book of literary analysis, titled The Armed Vision. Jackson loosely based the novel on her childhood, growing up in an affluent California neighborhood. She also admitted that she wrote the book, in part, to get back at her parents, whom she resented for their narrow-mindedness and greed, stating that a writer's first novel has to be the one in which he gets back at his parents.[3]

Plot summary[edit]

The novel relates life on Pepper Street, a suburban, middle-class neighborhood in Cabrillo, California. It takes place in 1936. The residents consider themselves upstanding citizens, although they are highly parochial in their worldview; for example, they refuse to socialize with the neighborhood's one Jewish family or with a working mother of a disabled child who rents a home on the street. The novel describes the way in which a hole being torn through the wall that has long cut off the end of the street disrupts life in the community.

Critical reception[edit]

Reviewing Jackson's first novel in the Montreal Gazette, Wilbur Atchison wrote: "Miss Jackson is no Sinclair Lewis; she is only 28. But she does in her most recent work show a remarkable talent for putting on paper the everyday happenings which at times make life a pleasure and sometimes make it pretty grim."[4]


  1. ^ "The Road Through the Wall overview". Goodreads. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  2. ^ The Road Through the Wall by Shirley Jackson, Book Review, Popular Library, 1976
  3. ^ Franklin, Ruth (September 27, 2016). Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. New York: Liveright. 
  4. ^ Montreal Gazette, May 22, 1948

External links[edit]