Shirley Jackson's The Lottery: A Graphic Adaptation

Miles Hyman (illus.). Hill & Wang: Farrar. Oct. 2016. 160p. ISBN 9780809066490. $30; pap. ISBN 9780809066506. $16. F
OrangeReviewStarA well-known short story often assigned in literature classes, Jackson's "The Lottery" slowly unveils the grim details of a yearly ritual in a small community in rural America. The ritual's origins are forgotten, and other towns have given it up, but these villagers keep the tradition out of habit, superstitious expectations for a better harvest, and paradoxical benefits of group cohesion despite a deadly outcome. How much cruelty, asks Jackson rhetorically, do we cause out of habit or peer pressure? The Salem witch hunts, pogroms, "queer-bashing," and Internet bullying all have commonalities with this odd lottery that seems to draw more from ancient practices than from the modern world. Hyman (The Black Dahlia), Jackson's grandson, imbues realistic characters with a blocky stoicism in full-color panels flooded with sun-parched orange light. Much of the rendition is wordless, the art carrying this tale of quiet horror.
VERDICT This standout work featuring a violent and inhumane tradition within a mundane setting will get readers thinking about causes and effects of our actions. For general readers as well as educators and librarians working with teens and adults alike.
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