The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The one thing that really stands out about this collection of Shirly Jackson stories is this: the subtlety.
It's not over the top horror in any shape or fashion. Rather, it's regular folk doing regular things and as we peel back layers and layers to their surroundings or their individual psyches, everything twists subtly. The normal quickly becomes a twilight zone nightmare even if it's only a tiny little thing that's changed.
A dog caught killing chickens. *shiver* My goodness, that one killed me. Dead.
Some, like the Witch, was totally awesome and people of my generation would have just found it great fun, but I can see why the mommy freaked the hell out. Of course, the little kid was rocking hard to it and why wouldn't he?
I loved the Tooth. It was damn surreal and I was thinking along the lines of all the similar kinds of tales and novels to come after it. Body-hopping tales, indeed. :)
But more than that, I was really impressed and fascinated at the look into '40's racism, subtle or not, how badly women were treated and how badly they treated each other, and the general miasma of inhumanity everywhere.
Some tales were all about the unspoken silence that surrounded mental illness and the insane pressure to keep a lid on it and remain "normal". Things like this may not be completely horror as the genre but the tension was definitely all horror.
Shirly Jackson's stories were absolutely macabre, quite brilliant, and completely understated. It's all about looking through the darkened mirror, seeing our normal lives, living them, and then seeing just how horrible we really are. :)
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