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The Lottery and Other Stories

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  47,699 Ratings  ·  1,108 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 1949)
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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will indict those who destroy property and declare innocent those who destroy lives and render this specific commentary out of date.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
Nandakishore Varma
May 11, 2016 Nandakishore Varma rated it really liked it
Very rarely does one find a short story collection where all stories are above average. Kudos to Ms. Jackson for producing a collection where all are excellent, and some really outstanding. I wonder whether it is possible to fall in love with a lady who passed away when one was scarcely two years old? If so, I'm in love with Shirley.

The title story needs no introduction: in fact, this is the one which first led me to Shirley Jackson (and The Haunting of Hill House, which so far I've not been abl
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Emily May
Sep 30, 2012 Emily May rated it really liked it
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
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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
Jan 16, 2015 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shawn
Well, who couldn't love this collection? There may be some who, knowing "The Lottery" and Ms. Jackson's reputation for that classic tale and a handful of other "weird stories", and with no thanks to the packaging ("a literary sorceress" proclaims the back, "the most haunting writer of our time" proclaims the front), come to this expecting it to be all strange and weird, if not actual horror. And they would be disappointed, because the majority of the stories here are literary first and foremost, ...more
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
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!
Melki
Apr 25, 2012 Melki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My 1949 Avon paperback - it originally sold for 35 cents! - seems to be pushing Shirley Jackson as H.P. Lovecraft with ovaries. The cover proclaims 'A study in nightmares-by the most haunting writer of this generation' It's even subtitled 'Adventures of the Demon Lover'. Anyone who's ever read that story knows the lover in that tale is more scoundrel than demon. Whatever it takes to sell books, I suppose.

Jackson's characters do more than throw stones at one another. Their cutting, thoughtless re
...more
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
Fabian
May 11, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading all the seemingly disconnected tales of hush-hush terror, evidently some pattern arises. This chain of stories is where I found the masterpiece existing at the very core of the "novel."

Never before has subtlety been so effective. In a "masterpiece of the macabre", a few corpses, ghosts, demons should make cameos, surely. Nah-ah. Not true here.

Shirley Jackson is also the author of "The Haunting of Hill House", a haunted house tale that suggests rather than shows... like all the "goo
...more
José
Mar 11, 2016 José marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Review in English below.

Reseña en español en el blog: Click aquí. (Atención: la reseña contiene lenguaje sumamente grosero y otras muestras de ira por parte del autor, se sugiere que los menores de edad la lean en compañía de un adulto responsable (?)

1 nominado al Premio Stephenie Meyer de 2016. Shirley Jackson va por la revancha este año.

That's it! I'm done reading Shirley Jackson. I can't understand how her stories have such a high praise from other horrors authors, clearly I must be missing s
...more
Rachel
Feb 18, 2007 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortstories
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.
Caris
Sep 23, 2009 Caris rated it really liked it
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
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
Kirstin
Jan 13, 2015 Kirstin rated it it was amazing
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.
Tyler
Apr 02, 2010 Tyler rated it really liked it
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 it was amazing
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
Aug 14, 2009 Miles rated it did not like it
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
Ziba
Mar 07, 2015 Ziba rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Rick
Apr 20, 2016 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many (most?) of these stories encapsulate the position of women in US society prior to WWII. There is a clear depiction women trapped in an environment that refuses to allow them the same freedoms and opportunities that man received. The author doesn't present this by screaming and banging the reader over the head with diatribes of feminism; instead she carefully describes many real life situations that women might have found themselves in, or could readily identify with, and illustrates how the ...more
Leonard
Oct 30, 2015 Leonard rated it really liked it
In Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, though the stoning reminds us of the Old Testament punishment, its original intent has long been forgotten. We view with horror at the barbarity and insanity of the custom, just as we consider the Romans barbaric for entertaining themselves with gladiators. But perhaps a visitor to the U.S. without previous exposure may find American football, shoulders banging into heads and players piling on top of each other, also “barbaric and insane.”

Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson

We do no
...more
Jason
Feb 16, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shirley Jackson is one of the better practitioners of the psychological suspense tale. Her stories are suspenseful, yes, but also deeply unnerving, and rarely in an overt or noisy way. Rather, the suspense and queerly unsettling nature of her stories stem from the quiet desperation of her protagonists. The typical Jackson character is a repressed, self-denying woman, a terrified and helpless creature anxious to follow society's norms, desperate to be accepted, raging inwardly for approbation at ...more
Lee Foust
Apr 14, 2013 Lee Foust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 13, 2013 Eliza Victoria rated it it was amazing
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
Cora
Oct 10, 2015 Cora rated it really liked it
She's great! Clever, great flow, and always a surprise coming.
Colleen
Mar 15, 2016 Colleen rated it it was amazing
Great collection--not a dud among them. None are typical horror, but even something as innocuous as talking to host's kid at a cocktail party or greeting a new neighbor devolves into sly, cold suffocating terror. There is no twinkle at humanity's foibles in Jackson's stories--there are funny moments--but every day regular people are the true monsters, and more frightening seen in the day, in the townsquare or heading off to a doctor's appointment, than in some dark castle.
Amy
May 26, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
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
Kris
Jun 13, 2014 Kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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500 Great Books B...: The Lottery and Other Stories - Shirley Jackson 3 25 Jan 09, 2016 08:23PM  
Ms. Clark's Advisory: The Lottery 36 118 Jul 25, 2015 07:21PM  
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  • Fancies and Goodnights
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  • The Meaning of Consuelo
  • The Collector of Hearts: New Tales of the Grotesque
  • The Haunted Looking Glass
  • A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister
  • The Story of an Hour and Other Stories
  • Selected Letters, 1913-1965
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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...

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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.” 8 likes
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