Ghost stories

Hidden turmoil

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. By Ruth Franklin. Liveright; 607 pages; $35 and £25.

NEARLY 70 years after it was first published, Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery”, is still chilling. It begins benignly: on an otherwise “clear and sunny” day, every household in an unnamed village gathers to draw lots. But this unfussy account of an arcane local ritual ends with screams. “It isn’t fair,” cries the woman with the marked slip as everyone, even her own children, pelts her with stones.

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