"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'sThe Lotteryis a memorable and terrifying masterpiece, fueled by a tension that creeps up on you slowly without any clear indication of why. This is just a townful of people, after all, choosing their numbers for the annual lottery. What's there to be scared of? The ending is all the more stunning for the social commentary that comes like the slap of a hand and is gone. WhileThe Lotteryis probably the darkest story in this collection, the twist, the dig, and the unrelenting insights into human prejudices and frailties are present throughout. Prime targets are self-satisfied matrons, whose racism and elitism are glaringly exposed. Other tales are gentler yet often eerie: a single woman waits expectantly for the man she is to marry that morning, only to find he has disappeared as completely as if he had never existed; mild Emily Johnson faces down her kleptomaniac neighbor; Margaret's dream vacation in New York City begins to feel like a nightmare. Sometimes the stories are downright funny, including a hilarious description of working at Macy's, yet even in the humorous pieces, there is an unsettling feeling,...