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The Lottery and Other Stories (FSG Classics) Paperback – March 9, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

The stories remind one of the elemental terrors of childhood. (James Hilton, Herald Tribune)

In her art, as in her life, Shirley Jackson was an absolute original. She listened to her own voice, kept her own counsel, isolated herself from all intellectual and literary currents . . . . She was unique. (Newsweek)

From the Back Cover


"Jackson's great gift is not to create a world of fantasy and terror, but rather to discover the existence of the grotesque in the ordinary world. The grotesque is so powerful here just because it takes off from everyday life and constantly returns there until we do not know ourselves quite where we are."
        --Elizabeth Janeway

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: FSG Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2nd edition (March 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374529531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374529536
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shirley Jackson was born in San Francisco in 1919. She first received wide critical acclaim for her short story 'The Lottery', which was published in 1948. Her novels--which include The Sundial, The Bird's Nest, Hangsaman, The Road through the Wall, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House--are characterised by her use of realistic settings for tales that often involve elements of horror and the occult. Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages are her two works of nonfiction. Come Along With Me is a collection of stories, lectures, and part of the novel she was working on when she died in 1965.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Many people are familiar with the story "The Lottery," but it is just one of many incredible vignettes of life filling this collection. It is hard to understand today why "The Lottery" originally provoked such a strong reaction, yet it still packs a punch for first-time readers. While it does have aspects of horror, the remaining stories are basically literary. "Flower Garden" and "After You, My Dear Alphonse" deal with racism and would seem to be pretty bold statements for the time period (the book was published in 1948); the latter story seems particularly groundbreaking because of the unusual perspective it provides. "Charles" is a humorous yet illuminating look at the behavior of children, while "Afternoon in Linen" is an important statement on why children sometimes behave as they do. Jackson is at her best when describing the disenchanted adult. The helplessness of women is an important theme in many stories; many of the women described here feel helpless and subservient to their husbands, their neighbors, and their community. "Elizabeth" is a fairly long study of how one woman's wishes and dreams remain unfulfilled in later life. The housewife in "Got a Letter From Jimmy" is thoroughly exasperated by her husband's feelings, and since she cannot speak her mind to him, she is forced to fantasize about killing him. In "The Villager" a woman spontaneously chooses to become someone else entirely for a few minutes, and most of Jackson's heroines spend much time contemplating what could have been. In "Of Course," the fact that a new family has a few unorthodox views builds an unbreachable wall between brand-new neighbors. The women in these stories are always wondering what other people think about them and worrying about what others will say about them.Read more ›
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Lottery" is a powerful work of literature and the best short story I ever read. When first published in the "New Yorker" in 1948, it engendered an enormous amount of hate mail; some readers actually canceled their subscriptions. Although now commonly regarded as a masterpiece of short fiction, Jackson's macabre work is still so greatly abhorred by some contemporary readers that they have attempted to get it banned from their local libraries. Indeed, a relacement copy I donatated just quietly disappeared from mine. Why? The few readers I have polled were quick to label the story "terrible" but seemed strangely reluctant to pinpoint their objections; so I can only surmise. I believe the story makes people nervous because they perceive that the community in which the lottery was held is really not all too different from their own. I think Jackson drives home the point that we, too, live in a society rife with superstition and ignorance -- a culture in which ancient traditions are unquestioningly accepted and virtually anyone can suddenly find themselves chosen as a sacrificial offering to an unseen god. When readers see themselves in the role of the ill-fated Mrs. Hutchinson, besieged by a mindless mob of true-believers, they are justifiably terrified. Or could it be that some readers are troubled because they sense in themselves a strong impulse to pick up a stone?
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Chris McClinch on November 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you've never read "The Lottery," you're wasting valuable time reading this review. Go buy the book and read it instead. If you have read "The Lottery," then odds are you already appreciate this dark, brilliant, horrific little story. It's one of the greatest horror stories ever written, and it's one of my favorites of all time to teach, as well. My students were all shocked and horrified by the story (not least by the fact that I would give them something that so offended them), but by the end of the semester, they came to love the story. The set-up is brilliant, and the twist ending is perfect: brutal, shocking, and short. Other reviewers have commented on the story's excellence for teaching things like the evil of tradition; it's also an excellent way to teach how ordinary people could become involved in something like the Nazi death camps.
The rest of the stories in the collection are uniformly excellent, as well, although I would recommend saving "The Lottery" for last. It's by far the most horrific in the collection, but Jackson's satire can be just as brutal as her horror, and there is more than a little of the horror of everyday life sprinkled throughout the rest of these tales. A must-buy!
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Many people are familiar with the story "The Lottery," but it is just one of many incredible vignettes of life filling this collection. It is hard to understand today why "The Lottery" originally provoked such a strong reaction, yet it still packs a punch for first-time readers. While it does have aspects of horror, the remaining stories are basically literary. "Flower Garden" and "After You, My Dear Alphonse" deal with racism and would seem to be pretty bold statements for the time period (the book was published in 1948); the latter story seems particularly groundbreaking because of the unusual perspective it provides. "Charles" is a humorous yet illuminating look at the behavior of children, while "Afternoon in Linen" is an important statement on why children sometimes behave as they do. Jackson is at her best when describing the disenchanted adult. . The helplessness of women is an important theme in many stories; many of the women described here feel helpless and subservient to their husbands, their neighbors, and their community. "Elizabeth" is a fairly long study of how one woman's wishes and dreams remain unfulfilled in later life. The housewife in "Got a Letter From Jimmy" is thoroughly exasperated by her husband's feelings, and since she cannot speak her mind to him, she is forced to fantasize about killing him. In "The Villager" a woman spontaneously chooses to become someone else entirely for a few minutes, and most of Jackson's heroines spend much time contemplating what could have been. In "Of Course," the fact that a new family has a few unorthodox views builds an unbreachable wall between brand-new neighbors. The women in these stories are always wondering what other people think about them and worrying about what others will say about them.Read more ›
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