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 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
This is the brillia...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
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
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
The Book Report: A classic of American suspense literature, this is the story of the Blackwood family, told by Mary Katherine "Merricat", of her life with elder sister Constance and elderly uncle Julian. They live in the biggest, grandest house around their New England village, surrounded by villagers whose suspicions of them are well-founded: Constance and Julian are survivors of a mass murder, a poisoning of the entire Blackwood family, for which crime Constance was tried a...more
There is almost no yoke I would place on my praise for it. And yet: almost no one I meet is familiar with the title. I never see it reviewed or mentioned--even in passing--by anyone other than Stephen King. It is the quiet child of...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!
The chants of the children followed Mary Katherine (Merricat) everywhere as she makes her twice weekly excursions into the village. Mary Katherine, Constance, and uncle Julian were ostracized by the town folks when the wealthy Blackwood family gained notoriety after the deaths of several Blackwood family members by arsen...more
Merricat is the most charming and perfect narrator as she introduces you to her strange life, filled with her superstitions (s...more
About 15 pages into this book or so, during Mary Katherine's (hereafter called MK, because I'm lazy like that) shopping trip, I had the initial thought that this story was going to have a mighty big twist of the same type that the movie The Others had. (If you haven't seen the movie, and don't know what I'm talking about, you can wiki it, or just...more
This daily routine is almost a magical thing for Merricat, source of comfort and power. Certain days of the week belong to cleaning the house as well as making sure t...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
As usual, Shirley Jackson's prose is out of this world. But not only is her prose fabulous, the way she tells this story puts her miles above most horror authors working today.
This tale is about the Blackwoods; a family living an isolated life outside a typical small town. The Blackwood family has been decimated by a tragedy which leaves only two sisters, Constance and Mary Catherine, living alone with their disabled uncle Julian.
That is all I will s...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
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is the story of the Blackwood family, told by the youngest surviving member, Mary Katherine. Merricat, as everyone calls her, gives little bits and pieces of information out slowly over the course of the book. S...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
(view spoiler)[All through the book I kept thinking, "these people are dead". Or at least some of them. But then stuff would happen that would discount that theory entirely. (hide spoiler)]
Theories: (view spoiler)[I mean, the townspeople saw her. So that didn't fit. She bought groceries and checked out library books. Wou...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
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
|Short & Sweet...: We Have Always Lived in the Castle ~ Books 6-10||11||28||Nov 02, 2013 08:05AM|
|All About Books: 'We Have Always Lived In The Castle' by Shirley Jackson (Shirley, Sigourney & Jenny )||32||29||Nov 01, 2013 11:32AM|
|Catching up on Cl...: We Have Always: Spoilers||14||33||Oct 30, 2013 02:14AM|
|Catching up on Cl...: We Have Always: First Impressions, NO Spoilers||11||28||Oct 24, 2013 05:03PM|
|Catching up on Cl...: We Have: Background & Other||8||24||Oct 16, 2013 08:07PM|
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