We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

by Shirley Jackson
4.0 70

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Overview

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141191454
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication date: 09/28/2009

About the Author

Shirley Jackson (1919–1965), a celebrated writer of horror, wrote many stories as well as six novels and two works of nonfiction.

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DON'T................POST....................SPOILERS!!!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOME PEOPLE??!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a voracious reader, and was never able to choose a single 'favorite' book until I read 'We Have Always Lived in the Castle.' I was immediately captivated by the ethereal narrative of the haunted and haunting Mary Katherine Blackwood, and the eccentricities of Constance and Uncle Julian add depth, humour, and sorrow to the book. Mary Katherine's perspective makes Cousin Charles a thoroughly despicable and intrusive presence, and it is enjoyable to speculate on how she might have dealt with him had circumstances not thankfully driven him away. 'We Have Always Lived in the Castle' is a bewitching novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
jackson skillfully manipulates the readers by bringing them into the mindset of merricat, making them realize everything isn't always black and white. a truly startling voyag einto a disturbed mind that leaves no reader unaffected.
Moira Rose More than 1 year ago
Jackson naturally imbues seemingly normal events with a pervasive terror that makes it impossible to put her book down until you've fit all the pieces together to view the rich and horrible story her words paint.
hannah1028 More than 1 year ago
As are all stories by Shirley Jackson, this book is one that has a very unique twist in the plot. This is certainly a book that will keep you wanting to know what happens next. It is also a story that will keep you thinking. Clues and omens are very significant in this piece of literature. These omens intrigue the reader at first and then result in an "Ah Ha!" moment later on in the story. Also, there are many opportunities to explore different "what ifs" and form your own opinion on certain backgrounds. Although maybe not a book for the permanent library, it is a quick read that I would recommend reading once.
ILOVEREADINGDK More than 1 year ago
I love Shirley Jackson's writing style. I read The Lottery years ago and came across it again on the internet. After re-reading the story, I thought it would be interesting to read something else by Ms.Jackson. She did not disappoint. Although I suspected the identity of the true murderer, I love the way she develped the characters and the storyline. I passed this along to a friend who had never heard of Ms.Jackson~ she really emjoyed the story too. Quite an unconventional ending.
BOD More than 1 year ago
I liked this - kind of weird in places, but it was a good book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was not what I expected and even more, strangely thrilling, eerie and chilling, the story takes twists and turns that had me unable to stop turning the pages, a captive to this unexpected and rather brilliant story....
Guest More than 1 year ago
You pick up the book and it looks like a high school reading list book.' You begin to read it, and your initial thoughts are amplified. But then, the twist. You are looking into the lives of a family which puts the dys in dysfunctional. One person has Alzheimers, another person suffers from Agoraphobia, a third person is an eighteen year old with the mind of an eleven year old, and the last family member has waited to weasel in with intentions of corruption and thievery, and ... one of these individuals is the mass murderer of seven people in their own family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This strange tale was hard to put down. The awkward behavior of the characters questions their sanity. Merricat, though in her twenties, acts and is spoken to like a child. The line, 'I'm going to put death in all their food and watch them die.....the way I did before,' was frightful and insane, yet readers cannot help love the main characters and feel sorry for their positon in society.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Cover is deceiving. Wish it would of been spookier than its cover. However, easy read and kept it interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have no idea what I just read, but I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
I was really not sure what to expect with We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I read this book because it’s Libby’s favorite book in Holding Up the Universe, and I was curious about it after hearing it mentioned so often in that book. It’s a gothic “horror” novel, and it was one of those books where I wasn’t quite sure what was going on half of the time. I wasn’t sure what was real and what was not. I’m still not sure. Merricat (Mary Catherine Blackwood) lives with her older sister, Constance, and her ailing uncle, Julian. They were the only survivors of a mass poisioning of the rest of the family during dinner many years ago. Uncle Julian has never recovered fully, and he’s now wheelchair bound, and Constance takes care of him. Constance stood trial for the murders, and the whole town is now afraid of the family. The town’s treatment of Merricat and her family has an almost Lord of the Flies, mob-mentality type cruelty. It’s pretty horrible. Merricate herself seems stunted. She was 12 years old when the murders took place, and even though it’s been 6 years, she is treated as if she’s still only 12. Constance does her best to keep the family going. They use the money in their safe to buy food, and she’s grows as much as she can in her garden. They still dine once a week with an old friend of the family. This book is very character-driven with minimal plot. I was intrigued mostly because I was so determined to figure out what was going on. The audiobook was read well, and it held my interest although I was left wanting to discuss it with someone when I finished just so I could learn whether I had the right interpretation of the story. I can see why Libby (in Holding Up the Universe) identified with the lonely and reclusive Merricat, but I’m happy that she came out of her shell, met Jack, and decided to live in the real world again. http://opinionatedbooklover.com/review-always-lived-castle-shirley-jackson/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite stories ever told.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yup
Chancie More than 1 year ago
Strangely addicting and entertaining. There aren't any huge twists or shocks, but it's a good read.
Arevik More than 1 year ago
It was a great book.
navidad_thelamour More than 1 year ago
“The least Charles could have done,” Constance said, considering seriously, “was shoot himself through the head in the driveway.” 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, whether forced by the classically inclined high school English teacher or for the pure love of the unusual, and here you will find the same masterful foreshadowing, biting eeriness and haunting cruelties found in a small-town community. As my Grandma used to say, “You can always count on those ole’ townies to hide the most secrets, put on the most airs and turn on ya the quickest,” and Jackson, once again, highlighted those small-town characteristics in a manner that left hairs raised on the arms and resonance echoing at the finish of each chapter. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a novel about two young adult sisters, Mary Katherine and Constance, who have essentially become lepers in their small town after an incident at their family dinner table six years before that left half of their family poisoned to death, one sister on trial for murder and the other in an orphanage. The women go about their lives, hardly ever even leaving their property and being openly hated by the townspeople, kept company by their ailing, eccentric uncle who loves to talk about “what happened” and their loyal cat, until one day a cousin comes a knocking and their lives are forever changed. It slowly becomes apparent that Merricat (Mary Katherine) is not 100% mentally stable, as she believes she has voodoo-like magical powers to protect herself, her family and her home, she has fantasies about how her dead family members should have treated her before they died, and she harbors obviously sadistic and murderous feelings towards the townspeople who tease and abuse them. “I would have liked to come into the grocery store some morning and see them all, even the Elberts and the children, lying there crying with the pain and dying. I would then help myself to groceries, I thought, stepping over their bodies, taking whatever I fancied from the shelves, and go home, with perhaps a kick for Mrs. Donell while she lay there.” This story had an aspect of urban legend to it, the makings of it and the effect that it has on those who hear it, who believe it. Jackson wove the tale so beautifully that I didn’t even realize how engrossed in their lives—a sign of truly good writing—I’d become until the cousin started changing the sisters’ routine and poking his nose around in that way that is uncomfortable for readers invested in the protagonists, in that way that makes your heart rate quicken just a touch. This story was a peep behind closed doors, both literally and figuratively. It was a look inside the protective bubble of recluse-ness, while simultaneously being an exploration of man’s nature to fear and hate what we do not, ourselves, understand. It was also social commentary in that delicious way that only Southern Gothicism can offer (though this novel has no clear mention of place, it is widely believed to have been set in Vermont, making it... See the full review and others at The Navi Review (www.thenavireview.com) and follow the blog on Twitter @thenavireview
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a bit let down. I was discussing the book with someone, and they told me that it would get better. I thought it was good, but i expected more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it "!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hardecanute More than 1 year ago
I like how things are revealed gradually throughout the story.  They are all a bit crazy, but is one of them dangerous?  The ending could have been much more satisfying, but I don't want to spoil anything.  When you read it you will see a more obvious ending that would have had much more impact.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plantaganets, and poltergeists, what more does a person need?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A nice quick story, great plot twist, and just long enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with funny moments that will have you gasping for air. I really enjoyed this authors characters. The characters are well explained and have unique backgrounds and all have their own personality.