Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” description

 

A haunting and powerful collection of stories from one of America’s finest writers, with a new Introduction by Patrick McGrath.

Eerie, unforgettable, and by turns terrifying and hilarious, Shirley Jackson’s collection of stories plunges us into a unique, brilliantly etched world where the uncanny lurks in the everyday and where nothing is quite what it seems. In “The Lottery,” Jackson’s most famous work and one of the greatest—and scariest—stories of the twentieth century, a small town gathers for an annual ritual that culminates in a terrible event. In “The Daemon Lover,” a woman waits, then searches, for the man she is to marry that day, only to find that he has disappeared as completely as if he had never existed. In “Trial by Combat,” a shy woman confronts her kleptomaniac neighbor, and in “Pillar of Salt,” a tourist in New York is gradually paralyzed by a city grown nightmarish. Throughout these twenty-five tales, we move through a variety of emotional landscapes full of loneliness and humor, oddity and cruelty, banality and terror, and searing psychological insight. No reader will come away unaffected.

The only collection to appear during Jackson’s lifetime, The Lottery and Other Stories reveals the full breadth and power of this truly original writer.

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You know, you’d think that knowing the end would make the rest of it easier to swallow. You’d think the shock factor would be taken down at least three notches. At least.

Instead, knowing what was going to happen made the mundane opening details even more awful. Even more disturbing. This story leaves me with this disgusted feeling inside. I’m bothered that I’m bothered by it and I’m having a hard time fathoming that this sort of thing has actually happened. Perhaps not in this specific way (or maybe it has?), but the end result is the same, isn’t it? If human cruelty and barbarism can only really be as bad as we can imagine it to be, then we’re ******. I wish I could remember my reaction to this story the first time I read it (junior high? high school?). I don’t think I got the importance.

I think I much preferred the other stories in this collection. Jackson had such a wonderful voice and ability. If nothing else can be said about them, these stories were written well. I really enjoyed the recurring themes involving housewives and their day to day activities. I think Jackson takes an otherwise ignored piece of America and throws it into the spotlight.

I really enjoyed The Villager, in which a woman going to look at furniture impersonates the furniture’s actual owner and shows it to another prospective buyer. I thought it was absurdly clever and perfectly done. Like Mother Used to Make and Flower Garden were the other two that really stand out to me.

I like Shirley Jackson. I like her unique perspectives and her willingness to go places others have not. The only reasons I deducted a star from this collection were the tone and voice. It was easy to tell that each of these stories was penned by the same person. They all invoke the same sort of feelings and there seemed to be little variation amongst the protagonists.