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The Lottery and Other Stories - Shirley Jackson A very good collection of somewhat disturbing tales. Most, if not all, of a consistantly high standard. It's either a strong four stars or a weak five stars.

Looking over some of the other reviews for this book, much comment is reserved for the story from which this collection takes it's name but, for me, this wasn't the most interesting in the collection. Most are set around the mundanities of every day life but exploring themes such as jealousy, regret, spite, passive racism, mental illness and every now and then a hint of the supernatural.

There's the dark humour in stories such as "My Life with R. H. Macy" and "Dummy", wistful regret of dreams lost and wasted lives in "The Villager" and "Elizabeth", stories with sudden twists at the end such as "Charles" and "Come Dance with Me in Ireland", feelings of isolation from the rest of the world in "The Renegade" and "Pillar of Salt", and the downright strange, ambiguous tales of "The Daemon Lover" and "The Tooth".

One or two stories left me with no idea what point the author was trying to make, but her pleaseant, clear prose made the stories very easy to read. You can fly through them but must be careful not to let the subtleties escape you. One of those books that you know will benefit from a re-read.