A stony response

Ruth Franklin, Shirley Jackson’s new biographer, has written a fascinating retrospective on the angry, horrified, but mostly just bewildered mail that inundated the New Yorker following its publication of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” Interviewees include a woman named Miriam Friend, who at 97 is the last living letter-writer whom Franklin was able to trace, and Ursula K. LeGuin, whose father, amusingly, was outraged at the story mainly on the basis of anthropological improbability. (I’ve had that complaint about a fair number of other, mediocre stories built on the horrifying-hidden-pagan-sacrifice model, but Jackson writes with such chilling, borderline surreal assurance that I can’t imagine finding anything to question in her portrayal of communal brutality.)

Via The Mumpsimus.

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Shirley Jackson: author bio and works reviewed

  1. kakaner’s avatar

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Honestly, I love the fact that Le Guin’s father expressed outrage for that reason because that was always my thought as well– great story fodder if we’re willing to suspend disbelief and plop ourselves down in a contextless universe.

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