What’s the point of The Lottery? It’s a Rorschach test.
“A chilling tale of conformity gone mad.”
-Kent Brockman, Channel 6 News
There’s a special kind of pleasure that comes from a combination of persistence and serendipity. For years I’ve described the fruits of this activity as “obscure goodness.”
Let me tell you a story. Not that long ago I would frequent numerous Blockbuster and Rogers Video stores looking to buy used VHS movies. I’d dig through endless bins of tapes with a copy of a movie guide close to hand. I found hundreds of amazing movies that way. I found The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (1998), Sorcerer (1977) and The Wicker Man (1973), to name just a few.
Podcast discovery, by the way, can be similarly rewarding. Digging around the internet you can find some truly amazing old programs that nobody seems to be talking about. I’ve already pointed you towards the wonder that is A Bite Of Stars, A Slug Of Time And Thou, for instance. That series has a persistent excellence that should be far better known. This whole website is basically an exercise in the search for “obscure goodness.”
I told you this story only to explain why I’m not going to explain why you should listen to Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery.
The Lottery is by no means the best story I’ve read or heard, in fact it’s nowhere even close to that, but because I found it serendipitously I liked it a lot. Apparently a lot of people have read this story, its pretty famous actually, but it was new to me. Here are two versions, one narrated, one dramatized.
By Shirley Jackson; Read by A.M. Homes
1 |MP3| – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: New Yorker: Fiction
Podcast: November 12, 2008
A village of 300 assembles in a square to observe a time-honored ritual. The heads of each family draws a slip of paper to choose the winner. First published in the June 26, 1948, issue of The New Yorker.
NBC Presents: SHORT STORY – “The Lottery”
Based on the short story by Shirley Jackson; Adapted by Ernest Kinoy; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC Radio
Broadcast: March 14, 1951
“A story about a quaint old custom.”
Cast: Charles Seel; Gail Bonney; John McGovern; James Nusser; Jack Nessler; Louise Lorimer; Jeff Corey; Irene Tedrow; Margaret Bryaton; Jeffrey Silver; Steven Chase; Morris King (folk singer).
Posted by Jesse Willis