- Hardcover: 314 pages
- Publisher: Amereon Ltd (December 1, 1976)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0848803698
- ISBN-13: 978-0848803698
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 203 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,351,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Lottery and Other Stories
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"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."
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It's no secret that I love Shirley Jackson. I have been known to engage reviewers about what I consider to be less than awesome ratings for The Haunting of Hill House and/or We Have Always Lived in the Castle. One of the things I'm always honest about is books, and despite the fact that this book was written by Shirley, I wasn't crazy about it.
I was aware going in that this was not a collection of horror tales, though certainly, some of them are horrific. Even so, I didn't find a point to a lot of these tales. I liken them to someone peeking into the window of a normal American family-it's mostly boring. One or two of them (The Tooth, for sure), were just plain weird.
However, a few of these tales have serious subjects without seeming to-a few of them are outright diatribes on racism-without stating the word and without personal commentary. The fact that some of these families were so racist and didn't even realize it was commentary enough. I also found that a few stories seemed to be about the place of women in society, which was quite different in the 40s as compared to now. Lastly, a few of these stories were horror, in my opinion, The Lottery the most well known and the most horrific.
There is a whole 'nother thing going on with James Harris, a character that is featured in some of these stories. There's some talk in blogging communities about who he is, exactly, and what his presence symbolized. I don't pretend to have a complete handle on the whole thing, but it deserves a mention.
Overall, this was a well written collection, (from Shirley Jackson we would expect no less), but I found it to be slightly confusing at times and overall, I was not completely satisfied with this collection.
I admit that I'm not a fan of short stories but I was drawn to this title because of a review I read earlier this year that simply raved about this collection. Not really a fan of Kindle reading (although I really do prefer my Paperwhite over my original Kindle) I will admit that my limited lunch reading is better suited to my Kindle than an actual book. I also admit that I really enjoyed several of the short stories in this collection but I was basically left very frustrated.
As others have reviewed, and I don't need tidy endings, so many of the stories just kinda stopped with, IMO, the reader left to ponder what happened. As I've mentioned, I've not read a lot of Shirley Jackson so my inexperience with her writing style might be showing.
All that being said, I see this collection working really well in a setting--for example, school or book club--where instead of just pondering "what happened?" it's open to discussion.
Ms. Jackson does an amazing job at quickly establishing character and a sense of place / environment in every story. The worlds that she creates (with a very economic use of prose) are real as can be and leap off of the page.
I found Part One of the text to be very intriguing. Part One consists of 6 stories and all contain a lonely protagonist, all female except one. The stories are thoughtful and nicely executed, although I did not empathize with a single protagonist. However, I am not sure that I was supposed to? The last story of this section, “My Life with R.H. Macy” is clever and quite good. It stands out.
The best stories in this text are those where the point Ms. Jackson was trying to make is not so subtle. “Of Course” and “Come Dance with Me in Ireland” come to mind as I look back on the work as a whole.
This collection concludes with Jackson’s masterpiece “The Lottery”. I have read “The Lottery” a dozen times over the years and each time some different little detail in the text chills me to my core. I have never read this piece without being disturbed. It is the little subtleties in the text that are horrifying and this piece is a great choice to end this collection. One of the best American short stories ever written.