Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Finished: October 28, 2011

Synopsis: 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. 

Quote: “Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea? Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.”

Thoughts: 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 of a certain character, experiencing things from their perspective, definitely gives the right feel to this Gothic story. 

I was expecting a bit more from the end, some further exploration of what led to the murder of the family by arsenic, and how the day in question played out. We are left mostly with a few sentences between Merricat and Constance, and Uncle Julian’s rants about that day; which makes it a bit more chilling somehow, but leaves the reader wanting more from the story. Despite the few flaws I found in this book, it is not hard to see why this book continues to haunt readers almost fifty years after its initial publication.


Three out of Five Coffees


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