Genre: Classic/ Short Stories
Page Count: 302
Publication Date: 1949
Add on Goodreads
Shirley Jackson is known for her mastery of unnerving fiction. The Lottery is one of the most often anthologized short stories, and one of the most infamous short stories of the twentieth century. This collection features some of Jackson's most well-known short works of fiction.
This was my first experience with Jackson. As you have probably picked up on, I have been devouring anything slightly creepy that I can get my hands on, and Shirley Jackson is essential creepy reading. Since reading these stories, I have bought one of her novels, with plans to buy and read them all, and I have become extremely interested in learning more about her works and her life.
Jackson lived as a typical suburban American women in the early and mid 1900s. She was married to a college professor/literary critic and the caretaker of her four children. Her writings were popular during her lifetime, and in fact, they created quite a stir. The Lottery was first published in The New Yorker in 1948 and caused quite the commotion. Letters of horror and complaint came pouring in as well as mass subscription cancellations. Jackson was very quiet, hardly ever did interviews, and suffered from extreme anxiety and fear in the final years of her life.
What I loved about these stories were how simple yet unnerving they were. Jackson does not rely on the supernatural to make her reader feel uneasy. All of the stories in this novel take place in the real world, either a big city or the rural country, and involve everyday people, yet something is off. A few of the stories really stuck out to me including, The Daemon Lover, The Renegade, Of Course, and The Lottery. All of the stories in this novel sucked me in and had me on edge, but those stories in particular made me shutter.
Many critics see Jackson's works as not a reflection of her own paranoia, but as a reflection of the Cold War paranoia and society she was living in, and I have to agree. Jackson's stories reflect the Cold War brilliantly, as in both settings, life continues normally on the surface, but there are small hints that everything isn't quite as stable as it seems.
I'm really eager to read the rest of Jackson's works and learn more about her as I think she's brilliant. I highly recommend checking her out if you are into creepy reads.