Chuck Palahniuk has a saying: “Be clever on someone else’s dime. Being clever will never make your reader cry, laugh and probably won’t break their heart.” And this was what I was thinking throughout this novella - really, there was just no heart.
Feeling very much like a novel of its time, with TV series like Skins into its 5th series by 2011, the storyline follows immature 17-year old Jasper, who believes his step-dad to be a murderer and lies to his therapist about being gay and racist. He spends every evening getting high, drunk or having sex with any girl he can. His best friend Tenaya is troubled; something Jasper only really understands after spotting the cuts down her arm.
This novel might have been the inspiration behind DIE HARD - but rid yourself of the idea that this is John McClane. Joe Leland is a much more three-dimensional protagonist, and the novel is darker, more gritty and surprising than its movie counterpart.
‘The Lottery’ focuses on the community of a small unidentified American town who come together annually to select a member by chance to be stoned to death. The story addresses a number of different themes in its short text; that of violence, of mob mentality, of conscription, of meaningless sacrifice and scapegoats, of men and women carrying out their ‘duty’ unquestioningly no matter the human cost.
The novel is painful to read; not only because it reflects the truth of oppression and racial division in this era (and the concern that many of us feel about Trump’s election and whether that shows a regression towards a more divisive society today too), but also because it expertly dangles hope in front of the reader.
‘Fear of flying’ has shown me that we - real women - are not the ones that are broken. It shines a light on how impossible it can feel to be a woman, and on how biased and constructed our points of reference against which to measure ourselves have been since we were children. As D. H. Lawrence says: “The real trouble about women is that they must always go on trying to adapt themselves to men’s theories of women.”