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The Lottery and Other Stories

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  42,253 ratings  ·  915 reviews
The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. "Power and haunting," and "nights of unrest" were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson's lifetime, unites "The Lottery:" with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demons ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published March 16th 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1948)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aubrey
Let us speak of the Lottery.

Let us speak of the Lottery in such a way that the conversation here will "age badly", because lo and behold another legality will indict those who destroy property and declare innocent those who destroy lives and render this specific commentary out of date. Let us speak of a very US-centric issue of race and murder and the hallowed halls of police brutality and of Justice founded on the single principle of the Lottery. Let us speak of a time where the laws may have b
...more
Emily May
Recently, I've read a number of short stories with the intention of cutting down my huge reading pile and I've been largely disappointed. Particularly by common favourites like Edgar Allan Poe and his many famous horror tales - I was surprised to find them rather lacking.

The Lottery, however, is one of the best short stories I've read. It's very rare that I would give five stars to a short story because I reserve the top rating for meaty, well-rounded, often complex and/or clever novels, so a fo
...more
Charlene
3.5 stars!

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
...more
Edward
I
--The Intoxicated
--The Daemon Lover
--Like Mother Used To Make
--Trial By Combat
--The Villager
--My Life With R. H. Macy

II
--The Witch
--The Renegade
--After You, My Dear Alphonse
--Charles
--Afternoon In Linen
--Flower Garden
--Dorothy And My Grandmother And The Sailors

III
--Colloquy
--Elizabeth
--A Fine Old Firm
--The Dummy
--Seven Types Of Ambiguity
--Come Dance With Me In Ireland

IV
--Of Course
--Pillar Of Salt
--Men With Their Big Shoes
--The Tooth
--Got A Letter From Jimmy
--The Lottery

V
--Epilogue
Lotte
What a great collection! Some of my favorite short stories were: Charles (very cheeky and funny), Flower Garden (great psychological piece about racism and prejudice), The Tooth (very weird and surreal) and obviously, The Lottery, which is such a classic that everyone should have read and that apparently inspired The Hunger Games. Can't wait to read more of Shirley Jackson's writing!
Jill
Read this book for one reaction: gasping "whaaaaaat!" or perhaps "whaaaaat?" (punctuation varies) after reading the final sentence of every story.

Shirley Jackson is the indisputable master of the "whaaaaaat!/?" Some stories end ambiguously, leaving you scrambling back through the pages searching for a clue or alternately racing to open Google to read others' wise analyses. Other stories end completely and absolutely unambiguously, leaving you to question not what actually happened but to wonder
...more
Rachel
The Lottery is one of my favorite short stories. It is so twisted, like The Crucible, I think it is a great commentary on how groups of people are infinitely more dangerous than individuals because mass hysteria, dogmatic thinking, and a lack of personal responsibility prevents anyone from speaking out against atrocities.
Jacob
January 2009

I picked this up last year to read "The Lottery," (more on that below) and I was so impressed I couldn't justify reading the rest of the collection for free. Scouted around for a few months, bought a nice copy, finally got around to reading it, and here we are.

The Lottery and Other Stories is an unusual and slightly unsettling collection of stories (Including the title story and twenty-four others), many dealing with strange victories and defeats, wise children and stupid adults, nor
...more
Caris
Sep 23, 2009 Caris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
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 m
...more
Tyler
Apr 02, 2010 Tyler rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Tyler by: Various Mentions
Shirley Jackson gives readers glimpses into the exceptional aspects of ordinary lives and events. Her unusual style runs consistently through 25 stories in this 300-page book, stories ranging from four to 22 pages each.

Though sometimes categorized under horror, this collection contains little of that genre. The exception is The Lottery, ten pages that anticipate Stephen King. But people focus too much on it. Far and away, the stories involve a moment -- an instant of realization during the ordi
...more
Todd
Aug 08, 2008 Todd rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: almost anybody
Shirley Jackson is my favorite author. I love her short stories in particular, where she creates scenarios where everything might seem cozy and normal and very laid-back for about 2 minutes. Then she moves over into mankind's sneakier nature, which for the suthor is either a very amusing thing or a very frigtening thing. And always a surprise. I liked the short story "The Lottery" a lot, but my favorites in this collection are "Like My Mother Used to Make" and "Trial by Combat". She honored real ...more
Miles
Many people have spoken on the chilling qualities of Shirley Jackson's work. Myself, I just don't see it. I'll confess to being predisposed away from short stories; I find their brevity unsatisfying. Even taking that into account, however, I didn't find The Lottery: And Other Stories to be very entertaining. Some of the stories might have grabbed me if they were expanded, giving me time to bond with the characters and come to care what happened to them. As it stands, the book struck me as being ...more
Kirstin
I loved most of these stories but I love Jackson's style most of all. A few tales in here left me wanting more and had me turning back the pages for a reread but overall a stellar collection of strange tales. My favourites were:

The Daemon Lover
Trial by Combat
My Life With R.H. Macy
The Witch
The Renegade
Charles
The Flower Garden
Seven Types of Ambiguity
Of Course
Pillar of Salt
The Tooth
Got a Letter from Jimmy
And, of course The Lottery

I would highly recommend Jackson's short stories to anyone.
Martini
"25 Demonic Stories", my arse!

I am so utterly disappointed!
I picked up this book because I expected it to contain a bunch of creepy short stories, as the subtitle suggests. I was in the right mood for something slightly scary, but what I got was just a collection of short stories of almost normal everyday life:

- Two little girls who get talked into believing that sailors on shore leave are bad guys - not creepy!
- A man who invites his neighbor over for dinner, and when another visitor appears, t
...more
Ziba
An absolutely fantastic collection of 25 psychologically thrilling short-stories that will leave you wondering and pondering for days after.. Brilliant collection by a brilliant writer!
Lee Foust
To me these are mainly stories of rather simple daily unkindnesses; small, unfeeling everyday acts and then all that they come to signify to our modern social situation. In the Middle Ages, according to Thomas Aquinas, pride was considered to be the gateway to the six other capital vices: following the logic that once one puts oneself above his or her fellow human beings, for whatever reason, it becomes easy to justify any other immoral act, any other sin. In the universe created in Shirley Jack ...more
Eliza Victoria
Shirley Jackson finds horror everywhere: a living room with a new guest, a kitchen with a nosy helper, a window overlooking a mysterious new neighbor. There is suspense in the tiniest encounters, in the narrowest grocery aisles. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the craft of subtle horror writing. Ms. Jackson's the master.
Stephen Curran
Most book shops place Shirley Jackson in the Horror section, but I think this betrays a general misunderstanding of her work.

There is certainly a thread of devilishness running through these stories. Three of the five sections are preceded by quotes from Joseph Glanvil's 1681 book on witches and witchcraft, Sadducismus Triumphatus. But this is a trick to put the reader off balance, to make us think of dark and unaccountable forces at play on the edges of people's lives, rather than a flagging of
...more
Amy
I can't believe I never wrote a review on The Lottery yet!

This was a story that I have ready probably close to 50 times. I read it the first time in high school (way too many years ago), and it has stuck with me. This book had me thinking late into the night about how the lottery winner could have been me. Then I would sit and think things like:

Why would people allow this to happen?
Can traditions really be that strong?
When it's wrong, why do people do it anyway?
How can people be so cruel?

That a
...more
Emily
As it is with most kids, this was required reading for me in school (although I don't remember which grade). I enjoyed it at the time, as it was a shocking and interesting short story. Lately I've been really interested in Shirley Jackson's novels. I absolutely love her writing style and her material.

I reread this story last night, and just as before, It was shocking and interesting. It's done very well, because throughout the story all of the characters act normally (because the lottery is an a
...more
Kelly
The four star rating is just for The Lottery which is the last short story in this volume. I would venture to guess that many books/films have borrowed from The Lottery over the years.
Kris
These aren't scary stories -- they're chilling stories. Jackson is so good about making you feel comfortable in her own atmosphere, drawing you in to sit down and talk with her characters, thinking everything's okay... and then BAM! Everything turns on you. I was metaphorically squirming in my seat.

She exposes the human condition in such subtle ways, you're not even sure what she's doing. There are thoughts and emotions of normal, everyday people, and Jackson reveals the true uncomfortable filth
...more
Jade
I hate to say this but whilst it is obvious Jackson is a great writer a lot of these stories fell flat for me. I was expecting more diversity in the stories plot lines. The majority of them had an over arching theme of female loneliness, discontent and dissatisfaction with their home and surroundings. In spite of the vast majority of stories that I didn't like, there are a few golden moments in this collection. Such as 'The Daemon Lover', 'Trial by Combat', 'The Witch', 'Charles' and 'Got a Lett ...more
Nayu
The creepiest story out of them all was without a doubt, The Lottery, the last one. There are, I think, two main reasons why I didn't enjoy this as much as I was hoping to. First of all I'm not used to reading short stories in general, especially this short, most of the stories in this collection are between 6-10 pages. It takes some time to get used to this pace, this getting in and out of worlds so frequently, took me some time to get comfortable with that. The second is that, the stories them ...more
Kirsten
The Lottery: And Other Stories is a collection that actually deserves the title "collection"-- there are definite thematic threads weaving themselves through all the stories and the book is organized into 5 parts that I'm still thinking about because I don't get it yet. (That's a good thing.) This collection is like yellow gingham check fabric: cheerful and light at first glance and slightly menacing with a closer look. And that yellow gingham has a startling, single blue thread woven into the w ...more
LeeAnne
The Lottery and Other Stories
by Shirley Jackson




Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite writers. Her writing is psychologically ghoulish and ominous. Her stories are about ordinary people and communities who do extraordinarily frightening things. This seems to make some readers very uncomfortable and nervous -probably because they see themselves and their own communities in her stories.

Shirley Jackson whipped this story out in less than two hours, making only two minor corrections.“The Lottery” wa
...more
David Stephens
Shirley Jackson's stories exhibit many recurring themes—the pressures of conformity, the loss of identity, the passive aggressive nature of many seemingly pleasant conversations—but even so, they never get stale. Each one depicts a small portion of its characters' lives from a different vantage point. While they are often told from the point of view of a thirty-something female who is losing her grip on reality, they are sometimes presented more objectively from outside all of the characters and ...more
Paula
Before I read this, I thought that Shirley Jackson was a really good writer. Now I know that she was an absolutely brilliant writer. This short story collection is a true gem, written with so much style and grace. Her stories are often hilarious but they also leave you with a feeling of uneasiness because they show the deepest and darkest parts of seemingly very ordinary people. Jackson knew human nature very well.
Megan
I honestly hated it. It was ok written I guess, but just the end of it was so awful.
Basically what happens is this town of 300 people have a "lottery" every year. The families have their head of the house, which is normally the father, pick a paper from a black box. If one family gets the paper with a dot in pencil on it, then everyone from the family picks again individually. So the Hutchinson's get the pencil dot on their paper, and all the family members have to pick again (, Father- Bill, M
...more
Peter Nicholson
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson was a very interesting short story to say the least. I really liked it and I enjoyed the major plot twist. The story really grabbed my attention right away and drew me in close to try and figure out what was going on. I would recommend this to anyone just to see their reaction.

"The Lottery" is about a small town of about 300 people who all get together on June 27th. Then the head of the house draws a slip of paper. The winner must have the rest of the family draw
...more
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13388
Shirley Jackson was an influential American author. A popular writer in her time, her work has received increasing attention from literary critics in recent years. She has influenced such writers as Stephen King, Nigel Kneale, and Richard Matheson.

She is best known for her dystopian short story, "The Lottery" (1948), which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown Ameri
...more
More about Shirley Jackson...
The Haunting of Hill House The Lottery We Have Always Lived in the Castle Life Among the Savages The Lottery and Other Stories; The Haunting of Hill House; We Have Always Lived in the Castle

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“Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.

"All right, folks," Mr. Summers said. "Let's finish quickly."

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box. Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. "Come on," she said. "Hurry up."

Mrs. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said, gasping for breath, "I can't run at all. You'll have to go ahead and I'll catch up with you."

The children had stones already, and someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.

Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.”
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“Everything that makes the world like it is now will be gone. We'll have new rules and new ways of living. Maybe there'll be a law not to live in houses, so then no one can hide from anyone else, you see.” 6 likes
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