Skip to main content

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson: Everything is ambiguous and foreboding



Shirley Jackson's writing can be described as extremely Shirley Jacksony.

The only one of her story collections to be published during her lifetime has FINALLY accomplished what I've been waiting for with her. I've read two of her novels, and each time it's felt vaguely unfulfilling and like it's SO CLOSE to being something I would enjoy. But after reading 26 of her stories in a row, I can say "Ohhhhhhhhh."


I was so struck by the insane similarities between her work and Edward Hopper's while I was reading that I was like "This must be a common thing. Like, something that everyone thinks. Because not every artist goes 'what about like...a sad woman sitting in a room and that's it?'"

basically every Shirley Jackson story

If I were in college, I would be so totes jazzed to write essays on these stories. "I can SAY THINGS about SOCIETY," I would say. As it is, after each one, I went "Huh. Seems like there's something important there." Then I thought I should read that new biography of her that I scorned at Book Expo this year and then moved onto the next story.

Basically, Shirley Jackson was born in 1916, died in 1965 of heart failure, which is TOO SOON, and wrote about feminism and racism and awesomeism (awesomeism is what Shirley Jackson had and what is therefore reflected in her work). She does a lot with mundane detail combined with something always being slightly wrong. It's pretty damn masterful and let's all be impressed by her and read more of her stories and maybe the aforementioned biography.


Shirley Jackson would want it mentioned that another Shirley Jackson comes up when you google image her, and this Shirley Jackson was the first African-American female Ph.D graduate of MIT, so good on you, you two Shirley Jacksons. You are both great.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Norwegian Wood: The Planning Post

You all remember this?


So, after some panicking on my part, and the over-taxed Chicago Public Library taking weeks and weeks to send my copy (it's been in transit for about three or four weeks now), I finally caved and bought it on Kindle (even though the Kindle price is more than the paperback -- COME ON PUBLISHERS).
Tuesdays worked well last time, because then you get to panic on Mondays and not Sundays that you haven't done the reading. Makes the weekend more relaxing. But if people want to do Wednesdays instead because of Top Ten Tuesday being such a big meme, let me know and I'll shift everything forward a day (except the 31st, because I REFUSE TO GO INTO JANUARY). Here's the schedule:
January 3rd: Intro posts. How do you feel about Murakami/have you read anything of his before/whatever you want to say; I am merely your faciliator.
January 10th: Chapters 1 through 4
January 17th: Chapters 5 & 6
January 24th: Chapters 7 through 9
January 31st: Chapters 10 & 11
If y…