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The Lottery and Other Stories

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  60,758 ratings  ·  2,044 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 ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published March 16th 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1948)
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NeilN It's a collection of short stories that are all a bit off kilter. When you read them together they really unsettle you. This is just about one of my…moreIt's a collection of short stories that are all a bit off kilter. When you read them together they really unsettle you. This is just about one of my favourite books. 'The Tooth' particularly is too true to be comfy. But I needed to be a little patient before I got the style.(less)

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  60,758 ratings  ·  2,044 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Grace Paley once described the male-female writer phenomenon to me by saying,’Women have always done men the favor of reading their work, but the men have not returned the favor.’”

 photo the20lottery_zpsjp5aqmp6.jpg

I do believe that Miss Jackson was making a very pointed comment about male readers. I don’t consciously think about reading a male or female writer, but I know that I do read more male writers. I went back and looked at the last thirty books I’ve read:

22 male writers 73%
8 female writers 27%

I wasn’t expecting to
...more
Fabian
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
After reading all these 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 used so effectively. 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
...more
Bradley
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
The one thing that really stands out about this collection of Shirley Jackson stories is this: the subtlety.

It's not over the top horror in any shape or fashion. Rather, it's regular folk doing regular things and as we peel back layers and layers to their surroundings or their individual psyches, everything twists subtly. The normal quickly becomes a twilight zone nightmare even if it's only a tiny little thing that's changed.

A dog caught killing chickens. *shiver* My goodness, that one killed
...more
Julie
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Today, December 14, is Shirley Jackson's birthday, and ever since Shirley came into my life this year and KNOCKED ME OUT with her fiction, I have invented a little fantasy about what her average morning might have looked like, when she was alive. It's a complete fiction, of course, but it always manages to cheer me up, every time I think of it (or find myself disliking men, overly much):

So, it goes. . .
It's morning at the Jackson/Hyman household, circa 195-, and Shirley Jackson's standing in
...more
Raeleen Lemay
The Lottery is by far the best story in this collection, which made the process of reading all of the other stories a bit of a drag at times, but overall I enjoyed this! A lot of Jackson's stories tackle big issues like racism and mental illness really effortlessly, and I loved that. Plenty of them were also super dark and twisted but in Jackson's classic, understated and simple style, which made for a fun, creepy read at times.

I definitely prefer Shirley Jackson's novels, but this makes a
...more
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
I am not persuaded any of these qualify as horror. Good enough stories, readable, lukewarm writing, not much more. !!!BEWARE of SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

There's this story about some weird guy telling a young neurotical kid with an even younger sister gruesome tales about his own (hypothetical) sister. The mother chases him away.

There's a story about a woman running around looking for her fiance and asking a bunch of random geezers about him. It's painstakingly described how she's over 30 and how it's
...more
Melki
Apr 09, 2012 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
...more
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 13, 2015 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
...more
Emily May
Sep 29, 2012 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
...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
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
...more
Char
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
Arah-Lynda
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it

My personal favourites of this collection:

The Intoxicated
Like Mother Used to Make
The Witch
Charles
Flower Garden
Seven Types of Ambiguity
Come Dance with Me in Ireland
Of Course
Men with Their Big Shoes

and of course

The Lottery (it still stuns)

Every one of the stories in this collection is well worth your time, but of course we all have our favourites. Wonder what yours will be.
Dannii Elle
My membership to the Gothic Appreciation Society has been revoked. I have been disowned by all my Jackson-loving book friends. I'm sorry, but I just could not find it in me to love this one.

The Lottery and Other Stories is, surprisingly, I know, a collection of Jackson's short tales. I have previously read a portion of her Dark Tales anthology before casting it aside but I was so eager to give more of her renowned work a go, given that The Haunting of Hill House is my favourite ever horrors.

I so
...more
Teresa
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reread

I remembered almost none of this from my first read, just the title story, which I’ve read a few times. Perhaps I didn’t ‘get’ the other stories the first time or I didn’t have enough references during my first read, though I’ve loved Jackson’s novels for a long time before first reading these.

The collection has been published under a few similar-sounding titles and I don’t think I knew before that its title at one time was The Lottery, or The Adventures of James Harris. Knowing the
...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,
...more
Karina
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Really enjoyed these short stories by Shirley Jackson, although some left me scratching my head at the end. I didn't understand 2 of the conclusions but I still liked them. Her stories left me smiling. I like her brain! The way her mind weaves these innocent stories then turns them into something wicked or nerve wracking is incredible. She does it in a way where it seems like she's looking into our weaknesses as human beings. Jackson talks about race, discrimination, death, motherhood, ...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
Shawn
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Juli
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do you call a person who can be in the middle of a party crowd and feel desperately lonely? A person who wants a partner but floats somewhere even outside the Friend-Zone with everyone? Those who never fit in.....those who don't have a "real" life.....those who live in a fantasy world all their own.....the outsiders who let themselves be used and abused by others? What word symbolizes their lives? Disenfranchised? Socially inept? Abnormal? Invisible people? Weird? Weak? Unusual? Different? ...more
Idarah
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"Because it was raining and the day seemed unimportant she put on the first things she came to; a grey tweed suit that she knew was shapeless and heavy on her now that she was so thin, a blue blouse that never felt comfortable."

The main character mentioned above from the short story "Elizabeth" really unsettled me, as did many of the seemingly simple stories about Homelife and suburbia.

A.M. Homes wrote in her introduction to this collection by FSG:
"Her stories take place in small towns, in
...more
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪SomeBunny Reads (Phoenix)•*¨*•♫♪
“In a period of international crisis," the doctor said gently, "when you find, for instance, cultural patterns rapidly disintergrating..."
"International crisis," Mrs. Arnold said. "Patterns." She began to cry quietly.
[...] "Reality," she said, and went out.”




Let me start this review by telling you what this book is not. This book is not a collection of horror stories. This book is not similar to other works by the same author. This book is not easy to understand. It took me three times of trying
...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,
...more
Julie
7.5/10 stars

Some of these I'd already read; and The Lottery I've come across many times in the last few decades. It is still my favourite short story of Jackson's and is the one which bumps this entire series to at least 7.5.

I can't say I have any other favourites in the bunch -- they all make me think that they would have been much better played on The Twilight Zone, where they would have come to life in their wonderful peculiarities. In fact, Rod Serling and Shirley Jackson would have been a
...more
Kirstin
May 25, 2014 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.
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!
Brian
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shirley Jackson was a gifted writer, there is no denying that. The ambiguity and gaps in her stories are intriguing and well done. But a whole book of them is too much of a good thing. I would recommend that you don’t read “The Lottery and Other Stories” as a whole book, but rather that you read a couple of stories, put the text down and read another book, then pick it back up and read a couple more and so on until the collection is finished. If not, the text gets wearisome, as Jackson’s stories ...more
Leonard
Sep 02, 2015 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
...more
Roman Clodia
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not the greatest fan of short stories, but the more I read of these, the more they grew on me. ' The Lottery' is now infamous but I found it very transparent and could see the denouement pretty much from the start. It's a fine indictment, all the same, of 'tradition', of doing things just because they've always been done, however crazy and even horrific.

I particularly like the very short tales: often they're more a scenario than a story with internal development. Jackson's subtle horror of
...more
ALLEN
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Any Shirley Jackson short story is going to be enjoyable, whether it's full of chills or full of sly wit. This volume, ending with the namesake short story and still her best known (1948), has lots of good stuff along the way. In the psychologically disturbing category, we have "Men With Their Big Shoes," about two ladies, one of whom you may mildly dislike, the other of whom you are bound to hate. In the "puckish fun" category we have "My Life With R.H. Macy" about a woman (Shirley) put in ...more
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What is the name of the Shirley Jackson story? 4 6 Jan 12, 2020 08:41PM  
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The Lottery and Other Short Stories Discussion 1 9 Feb 27, 2017 02:06PM  
Gothic Literature: 23. The Tooth 5 31 Oct 10, 2016 07:03PM  

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4,632 followers
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
...more
“Upstairs Margaret said abruptly, 'I suppose it starts to happen first in the suburbs,' and when Brad said, 'What starts to happen?' she said hysterically, 'People starting to come apart.” 13 likes
“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.” 12 likes
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