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The Lottery and Other Stories (FSG Classics) Paperback – March 16, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,558 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The stories remind one of the elemental terrors of childhood.” ―James Hilton, Herald Tribune

“In her art, as in her life, Shirley Jackson was an absolute original. She listened to her own voice, kept her own counsel, isolated herself from all intellectual and literary currents . . . . She was unique.” ―Newsweek

“Shirley Jackson is unparalleled as a leader in the field of beautifully written, quiet, cumulative shudders.”
―Dorothy Parker, Esquire

“I implore you not to read this story unless you can take a day or a week afterward to think about it. A great story, like a great vintage, throws a crust of sediment which may destroy­ the bouquet and cause ulcers later. If you don’t feel the tweak of the ulcers, you haven’t really read this story.
―Christopher Morley, author of The Haunted Bookshop

“Perhaps more than anything else, the horror story or horror movie says it’s okay to join the mob, to become the total tribal being, to destroy the outsider. It has never been done better or more literally than in Shirley Jackson’s short story ‘The Lottery.’ ”
―Stephen King, Danse Macabre

“One of [the twentieth] century’s most luminous and strange American writers . . . Shirley Jackson wrote about the mundane evils hidden in everyday life and about the warring and subsuming of selves in a family, a community, and sometimes even in a single mind.”
―Jonathan Lethem, Salon

“Everything this author wrote . . . had in it the dignity and plausibility of myth . . . Shirley Jackson knew better than any writer since Hawthorne the value of haunted things.”
―Guy Davenport, The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Shirley Jackson (1916-1965), the author of The Haunting of Hill House, Hangsaman, Life Among the Savages, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, is considered one of the masters of modern gothic fiction. She is perhaps best known for her short story "The Lottery."

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2nd edition (March 16, 2005)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0374529531
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0374529536
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,558 ratings

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Shirley Jackson was born in San Francisco in 1916. She first received wide critical acclaim for her short story "The Lottery," which was published in 1948. Her novels--which include The Sundial, The Bird's Nest, Hangsaman, The Road through the Wall, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House--are characterized by her use of realistic settings for tales that often involve elements of horror and the occult. Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages are her two works of nonfiction. Come Along With Me is a collection of stories, lectures, and part of the novel she was working on when she died in 1965. All are currently in print (Penguin). Two posthumous volumes of her short fiction are Just An Ordinary Day (Bantam) and Let Me Tell You (Random House). A graphic novel adaptation of "The Lottery" by Miles Hyman, her grandson, was published in 2016 (Farrar-Straus-Giroux). Also in 2016: Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson (Penguin Classics) and an authorized biography by Ruth Franklin: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Norton).

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
1,558 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, entertaining traveling companion!
By Idarah on April 18, 2018
“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 kitchens, at cocktail parties...These stories chart intention, behavior—they are an intimate exploration of the psychopathology of everyday life, the small-town sublime."

I spent two weeks trying to decide which books to pack with me on my month long trip to Ireland, and at the very last moment (the night before), I opted to leave my huge Jackson omnibus at home, and travel with my Kindle editions of her stories, novels, and essays. I'm so glad I chose her as a traveling companion. I love to travel but the "getting-there" part can sometimes unravel me. Her stories were such a comfort!

I know everyone loves the title story of the collection, but I was most impressed with so many of the other subtler stories. Favorites included "Like Mother Used to Make," "The Daemon Lover," and "The Flower Garden." When I reached the conclusion of "The Dummy," I gasped and then immediately started laughing hysterically! I then reread the story to my husband who usually humors me, but he too had to admit that it was pretty hilarious.

She's a new favorite author—a kindred spirit. I can't wait to read more of her work. Hopefully more while I'm here in Ireland. I don't know how I got out of reading this collection in high school, as I saw many fellow students toting this volume around, but I know I couldn't possibly have appreciated Jackson's keen eye or dark humor back then.
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42 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2020
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Roman Clodia
4.0 out of 5 stars Little gems of meanness and subtle unease
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 13, 2019
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Mr. Othniel Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange and sad
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 22, 2019
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Pamela Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars An impressive collection of diverse stories
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 30, 2016
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric and menacing.
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drjonty
5.0 out of 5 stars The madness of children and toothache
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 12, 2017
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