kirstennnnnn (kirstennnnnn) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

The Lottery and Other Stories/ The Haunting of Hill House/ We Have Always Lived in the Castle

book 76:  The Lottery and Other Stories/ The Haunting of Hill House/ We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
This book is an anthology including short stories and two novels, so I will break them down...

The Lottery and Other Stories--Very insightful writing, often dealing with women characters dealing with psychological issues and prejudices within their lives. Sometimes there were eerie, supernatural overtones, but you could never be quite sure that it wasn't just plain old madness. "The Lottery" is her most famous short story, read by many, including me, during elementary or high school. It explores the use of scapegoats, predating things like Running Man or Hunger Games by decades. Others expose the subjugation of women and racial prejudice by painting a vivid picture of a scenario and letting the characters show themselves.

The Haunting of Hill House--Was a reread for me, but I thing I enjoyed it even more this time. I think I was expecting more blatant horror, like most modern horror is, the first time. But, Hill House again straddles the border between the supernatural and madness and is really creepy. Considering when it was written, it has some pretty scary stuff in it that has become a staple in the horror genre since then. And I love the line that appears towards the beginning and the end..."Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

We Have Always Lived in the Castle--Reminds me a little of Arsenic and Old Lace if you understand that it is a subtle tragedy not comedy. It's about an old mass murder, or about the family that is ostracized due to an old mass murder, but not completely. I think it is mostly about madness of different kinds. It has you confused about what happened the day of the murder. It has you wondering who is more mad, those directly involved, those who try to leach onto the survivors, or the towns people who try to punish the survivors due to their own misconceptions or prejudices.

I really enjoyed Shirley Jackson's writing.

Tags: anthology, classic, ghosts, horror, human spirit, literature, mental health, mystery, non-genre fiction, paranormal, short stories, supernatural, suspense, women's studies

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