Shirley Jackson's beloved gothic tale of a peculiar girl named Merricat and her family's dark secret
Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate. This edition features a new introduction by Jonathan Lethem.
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APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Shirley Jackson was known for perfecting the haunted-house story, but her final novel is about a house haunted by three living people. The story’s told through the eyes of 18-year-old Merricat, who lives an isolated life with her agoraphobic older sister and infirm Uncle Julian—the only remaining members of the Blackwood family, most of whom died together of arsenic poisoning. Through Uncle Julian’s obsessive ramblings, we piece together the events of that terrible day. Jackson is a master at generating dread and paranoia; reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a little like stepping inside a child’s nightmare.
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.
I could not set this book down. The characters are extremely engrossing and it's so easy to get in their heads. A wonderful "mystery" that's more of a 'why do it' than a 'who done it'. It's also a very easy read! If I was to start a book club, it would be because of this book... I could talk about it all day. 👏🏻
After Shirley Jackson writes, there is nothing left to say.
Anticlimactic , anticathartic
There’s “leaving an open ending for the reader” and then there’s ending a story at a screeching and random halt. Potential for an interesting mystery but instead goes nowhere. There was potential for great character development and arch, but instead flat lines.