I read this amazing short story last night, and it's been bumping around in my head all morning. Jackson's writing is just so...urgent and compelling. Even when she's holding things back, the prose is luxuriant and evocative. It's a rare writer whose use of adjectives is just so calculated and precise that one stops mid-sentence to marvel at just how that apt term was employed.
This one drips with mythology and menace. It's a slow build to a haunting final scene. And that last line? My, what a way to pay off a story.
While I adore "The Lottery" and all of its wicked charm, I think this is actually a better story. It certainly becomes a highlight of the grand little collection I'm putting together here...
The Ultimate Anthology
"The Man in the Woods" ~ Shirley Jackson
"The Drowned Life" ~ Jeffrey Ford
"Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" ~ Stephen King
"Voluntary Committal" ~ Joe Hill
"The Pear Shaped Man" ~ George R.R. Martin
"The Small Assassin" ~ Ray Bradbury
"Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros" ~ Peter S. Beagle