We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Popular Answered Questions
This is a chillingly terrifying story that has nothing to do with the things that go BUMP in the night. No, it's the odd terror that comes when things go BUMP in the mind. And the most terrifying things are those that are left unsaid, that creep up at you from behind the printed lines, just h ...more
Oh, no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.
Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?
Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!
A cliche in American horror films is to include children singing a song that is seemingly innocent at first, but gnaws at the nerves with a haunting sadism. We watch children, young and naive, signing and spinning in a corn field bathed by an autumn dusk; the cliche works because it is an image that we welcome through o ...more
This book is a masterpiece. It is short and spare and written in crystal clear prose, yet so evocative that it is richer in nuance than most good novels twice its size. It is so good I could kick myself for not reading it years ago, yet so mythic I am convinced I have known it always, like a tragic folktale or a chilling childhood dream. And yet, for all its grimness, it is essentially a comedy: darkly, transcendently, funny.
The Blackwood sisters—28-year-old Constance and 18-year-old Mary Kathar ...more
I really like Shirley Jackson and especially enjoyed The Lottery! I do admit that it's taken me quite some time to pick up We Have Always Lived in the Castle and I am so glad that I did!! One of my groups picked this for a BOTM. I listened to the Blackstone Audio version (on Hoopla) and it was really well done!
18 year-old Merricat Blackwood lives with her older sister, Constance, and her Uncle Julian (who is suffering from dement ...more
One of the many, many fascinating things about this book is the way it could have been approached in a completely different way. It could have opened with someone - a stranger to the village, most l ...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
Have you ever tiptoed down a hall in a dark house late at night, not sure if you really heard that bump in the night? That is what reading this novel was like, in all of the best ways possible. Shirley Jackson is a renowned master at the macabre, the unnerving, the Gothic genre, and this work puts her talents on full display—in HD. Most have read "The Lottery," whethe ...more
I have found that this works very well in narrative fiction too. If the first paragraph is sufficiently interesting, the reader continues long enough to get pulled into the story. While this is not essential, many great ...more
Just another homicidal paranoid-schizophrenic proto-hippy 18 year old girl-child who lives with her older agoraphobic/social-phobic sister and dementia-sufferer wheelchair-bound uncle in an isolated house in the aftermath of a dreadful family tragedy whereby all of the family except these three were poisoned to death in that very house. It’s not an uncommon situation. I know three similar cases here in Nottingham, and I could have told Cousin Charles Blackwood, who turns up crudely attempting to ...more
This is the brillia ...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
However, there may be a very good reason for that hostility, as we gradually learn...
When the (we suspect) money-grubbing cousin Charles arrives on the scene, the precarious equilibrium that the two sisters have preserv ...more
This is really astoundin ...more
And then it ended. Yup...
The unreliable narrator worked well, and the agoraphobic feel of the piece was certainly established... but I ...more
Are these unfortunate souls dead or alive in their domestic limbo? Oh, this is one delicious yarn with plenty of turns--with a terror that comes to us only by the Literary Mistress of the Dark Herself, Shirley Jackson. The luxurious morbidity, the Harper Lee Goth cynicism of the book, it is all an absolute delight. I am truly beginning to think that all of her books are like this one--the classiest horror of all time.
My name is Mary Katherine Blackstone. I am eighteen years old, and I like my sister Constance and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom ...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
Hollywood Reporter reports that a new adaptation of We Have Always Lived in the Castle is being attempted, this time with Stacie Passon (Concussion, previously) at the helm. Michael Douglas is producing and Sebastian Stan (Captain America) will star as Mary Katherine and Constance's cousin Charles Blackwood. No word yet on what caused Sarah Polley and Mia Wasikowska's production to halt, but every indication is that all participants are still living (thank the gods. ...more
I was expecting more horror and creepiness. I know this was written a long time ago. Maybe I just don't have the "depth" to appreciate subtle horror.
(view spoiler)[Maybe I am so jaded that poisoning your fami ...more
I had previously read Jackson's "The Lottery," which would make my list of best short stories, so I was prepared for dark atmosphere and tension in "We Have Always Lived in the Castle." The short novel opens with 18-year-old Mary Katherine Blackwood (nicknamed Merricat) describing her trip to the village to get groceries ...more
Ahhhhhh, so that’s why one daughter is never, ever, under any circumstances, to be punished for anything.
Plot driven drama with moments of humor, pacing that picks up and runs, seemingly everything resolved, one that deserves that critique of ‘well-crafted.’
Not one to read about, so not one to write much about. Better, instead, to just read it; that won’t take you all that much longer to read.
Really, more like 4.5 stars; it's that good.
|The Reading For P...: November-December Classic Group Read - We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson||52||54||Dec 03, 2016 05:29AM|
|SPOILER: Relationships/Psychology of whalitc||6||365||Nov 24, 2016 02:23PM|
|Goodreads Ireland: Spoiler Thread: We have always lived in the Castle||20||60||Nov 02, 2016 08:40AM|
|Started Great But Ended Disappointingly.||8||81||Nov 02, 2016 03:06AM|
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