LitBeetle, September 7, 2013 (view all comments by LitBeetle)
I came back to work 20 minutes late from lunch because the book was too good to put down. That was a dozen pages in. Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a whirling, magical read that takes its readers into the mind of a half-mad girl named Merricat. Through her strangely beautiful, sometimes frightening mind, we learn the story of the Blackwood family and Jackson’s incredible skill and a suspense author. Make sure you wear a decent shawl while reading this, because - "between Merricat’s quietly frightening mind and Jackson’s simple but eloquent writing - "We Have Always Lived in the Castle will give you chills.
alchymyst, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by alchymyst)
I love this short yet intensely creepy novel. It is narrated by Mary Katherine "Merricat" Blackwood, who lives in a large house on the outskirts of the village with her sister Constance and uncle Julian. The family is ostracized due to the family history and the villagers' perception that Constance had poisoned the Blackwood parents with arsenic. As the deceptively innocent tone of the narrative lures you in further and further, you realize that this is perhaps the most unsettling and disturbing book you will ever read in your life (and yes, that's what makes it amazing).
Kristen M, February 7, 2010 (view all comments by Kristen M)
There was such a palpable feeling of sadness during the entire book. I don't think I have ever read something quite like this. Jackson is certainly very good at making one feel while reading. It's somewhat disconcerting. I think this is the sort of book that you read once but are affected by for the rest of your life.
barbara howe, March 21, 2007 (view all comments by barbara howe)
If you like Shirley Jackson and her grotesque images of humanity, if you're feeling cynical about human society, or just like twisted and stunted characters, Jackson's your gal. Best known for the creepy short story The Lottery, her novel We have Always Lived in the Castle is another story about the cruelty of humankind, the incessant social pressure of small towns to keep their members in line and the temptation it all produces to wall yourself off in a castle and never come out! The story is told by a mentally disturbed narrator which provides the reader with an uncomfortable though thrilling closeness to insanity and neurosis and not a small part of the creepiness of the novel is produced by this technique. Jackson is a genius of the most recessed and hidden parts of the human psyche and this novel is one of her best.
Crossposted at my blog, www.LuckyWhiteGirl.com
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by Publishers Weekly,
"Since the mysterious death of four family members, the superstitious Mary Katherine 'Merricat' Blackwood, her ailing uncle Julian, and agoraphobic sister Constance have lived in a bizarre but contented state of isolation. But when cousin Charles arrives in search of the Blackwood fortune, a terrible family secret is revealed. Bernadette Dunne's reading is flawlessly paced and suspenseful. The voices she provides the cast of characters are spot on: precocious Merricat is haunted and increasingly desperate; Constance is doting but detached; Uncle Julian is both pleasantly dotty and utterly unnerving; and Charles is the conniving villain listeners will love to hate. A treat for fans of mystery and suspense. (June)"
by The New York Times Book Review,
"A marvelous elucidation of life...a story full of craft and full of mystery."
by The New York Times,
"A witch's brew of eerie power and startling novelty."
Alone since four members of the family died of arsenic poisoning, Merricat, Constance, and Julian Blackwood spend their days in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears.
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