Book review: The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson


The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in TheNew 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 demonstrate Jackson’s remarkable range–from the hilarious to the truly horrible–and power as a storyteller.


I love Shirley Jackson and her way of looking into normal everyday lives and turning them sinister. It’s a much subtler horror to that of ghosts and murderers, but that’s how I prefer it. I like the rising sense of dread that these stories bring.⁠

This is my second collection from Shirley Jackson, the other being Dark Tales. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the other. There were a number of solid stories in this but I didn’t find myself really loving any enough to give it a 5 stars. I gave just over half the stories 3 stars or lower, and just under half 4 stars.⁠

A couple of the better shorts in this includes Like Mother Used to Make, Charles, Flower Garden, Pillar of Salt and, of course, The Lottery.⁠

I liked how in this collection of stories there were a couple that tackled racism. It felt poignant to read these stories written over 70 years ago and know there is still so much unchanged. We have such a long way still to go.⁠

I will definitely continue reading Jackson’s work even after feeling a little disappointed by this collection. She was an incredibly clever and interesting writer and it shows in all her work, even if they didn’t entertain me too much.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Book Details:

Pages: 306
Edition Published:
2005, Farrer, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction
Goodreads Av. Rating: 4.06

2 Replies to “Book review: The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson”

  1. Nice review! I look forward to reading more Shirley Jackson, and I’m especially curious about The Lottery. Out of curiosity, what did you not like much about the stories you gave 3 or fewer stars to?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I really love Shirley Jackson. For the stories that I didn’t like so much, I personally felt were a bit boring – whether or not that’s because I missed the point of them or not, I’m not sure! 😅


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