We Have Always Lived in the Castle
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 is the brillia...more
Shirley Jackson wrote the short story "The Lottery," which is about a creepy small town. This follows in that tradition. It's about the Blackwells-- Mary Katherine, who is 18 but reads 12 to me, Constance, who is an adult but reads 18, and frail old Uncle Julian. And Jonas the cat. Six years before the book opens, the rest of the Blackwells were murdered at the dinner table. Now Mary Katherine (aka Merricat), Constance, and Uncle Jul...more
Usually I'm not at a loss for words in a review....
My friend Kinga decided it would be great fun if we recommended a favourite book to each other.
Despite the fact we don't have a lot of books in common I love reading Kinga's reviews regardless of the genre. She has quite the way with words and I think she's the coolest person, which is why I forgive her so easily for inflicting this weird little number on me.
And I warn you beforehand that I will be using the word weird and synonyms o...more
I don’t want to give too much away because this is one of those c...more
Something very wrong here. Something twisted and broken. Was the whole family broken or just Merricat?? Something fragile. Something dark. Something very 'off.' I was not sure where the author was taking me, but I couldn't wait to get there.
Tortured souls, not knowing how to live. Living inside a make-believe world of their own creation. Was Merricat schizophrenic? At times, I think she was. Sociopathic; oohh yes, buddy. Most certainly, even in one so young. (vi...more
"My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone...more
Told from the perspective of a girl whose strangeness and narratorial unreliability are evident from the start, this novel is a story about otherness and consequent isolation and anxiety. Focusing on Marricat and her highly sensitive, damaged sister, it tells us about the horror inflicted on them by the community that estranged them - it is the small-minded villagers and their self-righteousness that we fea...more
Thing is, I didn't dislike it, per se, but I'm not sure I really liked it, either...
I will say that, on the downside, I agree with Felina is that it was kind of...more
Yes, the residents of this house are different, especially the true murderer. But do they deserve what happens to them? And is their visitor any less a villain just...more
Merricat, Merricat, or perhaps more formally Mary Katherine - not only do you possess a super fun nickname, but you are also one of my favorite types of narrators – the unreliable one that allows for alternate readings of the text. From the very beginning of the book, your murderous fantasies and loose hold on reality made me giddy with excitement and anticipation. And while I foresaw the “twist” far before the novel let the secret slip, it didn’t take away my general enthusiasm for the book. We...more
Here is what we know about the Blackwoods:
1. They come from a pedigreed lineage deeply steeped in tradition and manners, 2. Everyone in the village hates them, 3. Their home is an elegant historic landmark that sits on miles of private acres which they're terrified to leave, and 4. Just six years ago there were many more Blackwoods -- a mother, father, younger brother and aunt -- but now there are only three.
There is eighteen year old Mary Katherine, her older sister, Constance and their elderl...more
Merricat and Constance Blackwood, the two main characters, live with their invalid uncle in the wake of their dead family. The novel follows Merricat and Constance through their daily rituals, revealing in spurts how their life alone came together. Rather than uncovering a truth, the revealation only marks...more
I finished the book last night, and this morning, when I took Nina to k...more
I understood that in this book in particular, the other townspeople had their suspicions about the protagonist and her family, but their hat...more
Written in the first person, this compact classic (only 146 pages) follows the precocious ramblings of an eighteen year old girl, Mary Katherine (Merricat) Blackwood, who has been waited on and spoiled by her big sister Constance following the poisoning deaths of h...more
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is my first book by Shirley Jackson and I will most certainly be picking up The Haunting of Hill House next. The story wasn’t quite what I was expecting. From the very first, you can tell the narrator is unreliable, and I figured out the “twist” early on, but perhaps I was meant to? I didn’t think it was all that subtle. Reading pages that delve into the unstable mind o...more
Let's say four and a half stars. Shirley Jackson's 1962 novel is in the American-Gothic / Pulp vein, but doesn't deserve either tag so much, as it is original imaginative fiction, steeped in rich, high-relief characterization. Stanley Kubrick or John Huston would have done well by this in a film version... A novel of Manners, more or less, just really atrocious Manners, inexcusable by any standard.
The first person narrative comes from young Mary Katherine, orphaned at an early age and now a sel...more
And so begins Merr...more
Merricat is the most charming and perfect narrator as she introduces you to her strange life, filled with her superstitions (s...more
|SPOILER: Relationships/Psychology of whalitc||3||59||Mar 02, 2013 01:24am|
|SPOILER: What are the climaxes in "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"?||7||162||Feb 11, 2013 02:25pm|
She is best known for her dystopian short story, "The Lottery" (1948), which suggests there is a deeply unsettling underside to bucolic, smalltown Ameri...more