The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (1948)

Before settling down to read this white-knuckler, do the following.

Lock your doors and windows.

Turn on all the lights. Ready a candle in case of power cut. Remember matches.

Pour a brandy. Make it two.

Hell, three.

Oh, and have a wee.

What’s the big deal? Well, it kind of creeps up on you and lulls you into a false sense of security.

Then upsides your head, leaving you shaken and shocked.

There’s a lovely start.

The morning of the June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.

Ah, sigh, can you feel that breeze on your face?

And sneaky, brilliant, Ms Jackson is casting clues from the start.

People are cheerful, smiling, jovial. Everything seems so routine. Old Man Warner even says, Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery.

Yep indeedy, most of the towns and villages have been holding one every year for many, many years.

Ho-hum, and so this one carries on in its customary way and you don’t notice the insidious change of tone or tempo.

Until it’s too late.

The old frog in the saucepan trick.

And when you’re done and have caught your breath and apologised to the neighbours for your screams, sit back and marvel at the story-telling.

And perhaps don’t look in the glass for a while after. So you don’t see the horror lingering palely there.

Good luck.

Thanks for being here.

PS read it again and play pick up the clues. x

Buy The Lottery and Other Stories (free delivery, cardboard wrapping)

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Published by

Guy Nicholls

Freelance copywriter – writing compelling copy to sell, explain or entertain.

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