I had stumbled across Shirley Jackson when I was a sophomore in high school. The title story, The Lottery, was the first I had read from this author, and it was the first story that I began with when I started this collection. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I still held my breath as the suspense built, my heart accelerating as I approached the ending. Jackson still manages to give me chills after so many years! I couldn’t wait to dive into the other 25 stories.
I wish I could say I was as enamored with the other stories as I was with The Lottery. While there were a few that I found to be unsettling, – The Witch and Charles were about exceptionally wicked children – and incredibly relevant to modern society – After You, My Dear Alphonse and Flower Garden tackled issues of racism – the rest left me bemused. Most of the tales were completely random and had a nonexistent plot. For example, one story was about a woman going to look at some used furniture to buy for her new home. She gets there, looks around, meets a fellow who is also perusing the furniture, then leaves empty-handed. Definitely unusual; not at all chilling as the back cover promised.
Reading this left me feeling a tiny bit deflated as I absolutely loved The Lottery and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I own another short story collection by her that contains 54 individual stories, and I’m hoping I’ll enjoy more than a few out of that one.
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