Top critical review
on 10 December 1999
Shirley Jackson is a good writer; her writing is not pretentious, nor does it resort to "tricks" to hook the readers. She also does not resort to blood and gore for any terror or horror effects. These points are clearly highlighted in the third story in this book, We Have Always Lived Here in The Castle. This third story is disturbing and leaves you uneasy for quite some time after you have finished reading it. This third story itself is worth buying this book.
However, I found the collection of short stories, The Lottery, a little disappointing. Some of the stories end too abruptly. They are actually well-written and very interesting but by the time you get into the story, the story ends! So, this leaves you unsatisfied as if you missed several last pages. I suppose her short stories are an acquired taste, but I only liked only about 1/3 of the short stories.
The second story, The Haunting of Hill House, was also disappointing because I felt it was more of a short story padded into a long story. If it was a short story, the book would have been so much better. The characters were also unrealistic. They were often terrified by nightly hauntings, and yet when morning comes, they act as if the previous night hauntings were just a bothersome leaking roof! And the ending was a cop-out.
Nevertheless, buy this book because for a price of a book, you get 3 books. The last story is definitely worth getting the entire book.