from The Lottery and Other Stories, by Shirley Jackson
I don't feel I have much to say about it. I want to sympathize with Elizabeth-- want her to do something, make positive changes in her life-- but she's not very likeable, as the story goes on. She's done her best to cut herself off from her family... Has no real friends except for her lover/boyfriend/workplace partner-- who is clearly looking to replace her with a younger woman... Lives in a tiny, dingy, inhospitable apartment that she's never bothered to improve or keep tidy... Eats all her meals at bad restaurants... And unless I misread something, she seems to be plagiarizing bits and pieces of the work sent to her by prospective clients (at her job as a literary agent). Her whole life is poor, ugly, cheap, and not about to get any better. It is a terrible downer, basically.
...I'm a horrible person, because just about the only part of the story I kinda-sorta enjoyed was when Elizabeth was manipulating Robbie out of the office and giving Daphne the heave-ho.
"'Sit down, Daphne.' Daphne sat down gingerly on the edge of the chair. 'Sit back,' Elizabeth said. 'That's the only chair I've got and I don't want you breaking it.' Daphne sat back and opened her eyes wide."
...Yeah, I know. I ought to be ashamed.