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The Lottery and Other Stories

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  54,751 Ratings  ·  1,597 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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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 fin
...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 m
...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 grea
...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 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 "g
...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 re
...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 abl
...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 fo
...more
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
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
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.
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
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
Eve
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fullsizeoutput_9b6

"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 ki
...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
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
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
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
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!
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 no
...more
Jakk Makk
Jan 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Tales from an unknowable world. The older I become the more apparent is that one generation can't truly understand what life was like two generations prior. We understand it in a vague historical sense, and from the inescapable things that bind humans, like eating and sleeping, but like Yoda might say, "Grok it, you do not."

We can somewhat understand our parent's time from the memories of early childhood, but can we truly understand what it was like to only use an outhouse? To trek outside in th
...more
Rachel
Feb 18, 2007 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.
Obsidian
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars, however, I rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.

Although I liked this collection of short stories, I am not going to lie, I was pretty disappointed that they were not horror stories. And I am even puzzled at people claiming these are Gothic stories too.

Some of the stories I think danced towards that genre, and others were firmly not at all. I think if you ignore that aspect of the book and just focused on the stories you can see a pattern emerging th
...more
DramaQueen
I think this is the first time I gave a short story collection five stars, but damn, this collection was amazing. My third Shirley Jackson -after We Have Always Lived In The Castle and Let Me Yell You- and she keeps impressing me. Even though the stories are short, you feel like you know the characters; you know how they think and act, you know their traits. These are not your typical horror stories, with ghosts or murderous clowns, but stories about the scary sides of humankind while creeping u ...more
Miles
Aug 13, 2009 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
Viv JM
I found it really hard to rate this collection of short stories. I thought some of the stories were great, some were good, and some were a bit dull. My favourites were the ones that poked fun at the hypocrisy of social norms and etiquette, especially those with children who gleefully refused to play along.
José
Mar 07, 2016 marked it as abandonados  ·  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
...more
Ange H
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-books-i-own
As a general rule, short stories make me feel equal parts angry and stupid. My usual reaction upon finishing one is, “Why was this written? What am I missing? What the hell is the POINT?!"

The Lottery is one of the few stories where my initial happy reaction was, "Oh. I get what these are supposed to be. Fantastic!" Reading it again all these years later, I still feel that way. Most of the other stories in this volume of course didn't compare, but I love Shirley Jackson so much* that I was more k
...more
Paloma
Unos días después de terminar de leer este libro aun continúo pensando en algunos de los cuentos que forman parte de la colección.

Cuando era más joven, muchas de mis lecturas eran cuentos -Maupassant, Wilde- y sobre todo, varias antologías de cuentos fantásticos, de terror, etc. Amaba mucho el género, pareciéndome difícil y mágico pues en unas cuantas hojas, la historia era capaz de sacudirme hasta la médula. Y no sé, supongo que de pronto me adentré a los cuentos más modernos y me pareció que
...more
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is230-808-2017: The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson 17 18 Mar 12, 2017 01:20PM  
The Lottery and Other Short Stories Discussion 1 7 Feb 27, 2017 02:06PM  
Gothic Literature: 23. The Tooth 5 25 Oct 10, 2016 07:03PM  
Gothic Literature: 16. A Fine Old Firm 7 15 Sep 26, 2016 01:55AM  
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3,124 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 Ameri
...more
More about Shirley Jackson

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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.” 9 likes
“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.”
8 likes
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