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We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
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Visitors call seldom at Blackwood House. Taking tea at the scene of a multiple poisoning, with a suspected murderess as one's host, is a perilous business. For a start, the talk tends to turn to arsenic. "It happened in this very room, and we still have our dinner in here every night," explains... show more
Visitors call seldom at Blackwood House. Taking tea at the scene of a multiple poisoning, with a suspected murderess as one's host, is a perilous business. For a start, the talk tends to turn to arsenic. "It happened in this very room, and we still have our dinner in here every night," explains Uncle Julian, continually rehearsing the details of the fatal family meal. "My sister made these this morning," says Merricat, politely proffering a plate of rum cakes, fresh from the poisoner's kitchen. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson's 1962 novel, is full of a macabre and sinister humor, and Merricat herself, its amiable narrator, is one of the great unhinged heroines of literature. "What place would be better for us than this?" she asks, of the neat, secluded realm she shares with her uncle and with her beloved older sister, Constance. "Who wants us, outside? The world is full of terrible people." Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic, burying talismanic objects beneath the family estate, nailing them to trees, ritually revisiting them. She has made "a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us" against the distrust and hostility of neighboring villagers.Or so she believes. But at last the magic fails. A stranger arrives -- cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune. He disturbs the sisters' careful habits, installing himself at the head of the family table, unearthing Merricat's treasures, talking privately to Constance about "normal lives" and "boy friends." Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods. The result is crisis and tragedy, the revelation of a terrible secret, the convergence of the villagers upon the house, and a spectacular unleashing of collective spite.The sisters are propelled further into seclusion and solipsism, abandoning "time and the orderly pattern of our old days" in favor of an ever-narrowing circuit of ritual and shadow. They have themselves become talismans, to be alternately demonized and propitiated, darkly, with gifts. Jackson's novel emerges less as a study in eccentricity and more -- like some of her other fictions -- as a powerful critique of the anxious, ruthless processes involved in the maintenance of normality itself. "Poor strangers," says Merricat contentedly at last, studying trespassers from the darkness behind the barricaded Blackwood windows. "They have so much to be afraid of."
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Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9780670753437 (0670753432)
Publisher: Viking Press
Pages no: 214
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
Mimia Reads & Talks
Mimia Reads & Talks rated it
0.0 We Have Always Lived in the Castle
This book left perturbed, very perturbed but I liked still.Guess this is a good book for the time of the year? (Not when I read it but when it was reviewed after I noticed something had made this book disappear from the reading challenge).So read 3-4 July 2019Reviewed 25 October
Mimia Reads & Talks
Mimia Reads & Talks rated it
0.0 We Have Always Lived in the Castle
It was weird and I couldn’t stop reading. It’s a good book but I’m not sure I liked it. And that’s all I can say about this book. I’m not even able to rate it.
PijanaPoMalinach
PijanaPoMalinach rated it
4.5 Zawsze mieszkałyśmy w zamku
Po przeczytaniu "Nawiedzony dom na wzgórzu" postanowiłam zagłębić się w drugą pozycję Shirley Jackson. "Zawsze mieszkałyśmy w zamku" to gotycka powieść o psychodelicznym klimacie, gdzie główną bohaterką jest Mary Katherine Blackwood i mieszka wraz z siostrą Constance oraz wujkiem Julianem w rodzinne...
Chris' Fish Place
Chris' Fish Place rated it
4.5 You never should trust kids
This is like a demented Grey Gardens or something. The plot is rather simplistic, so what basically gets you is the mood and atmosphere. Like some of Jackson's other works, it considers the cost of rumor and gossip on a family. Merricat lives in a house in a middle of a wood with her uncle and s...
FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt
FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt rated it
5.0
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-CycleThis is one of those books I've been meaning to read since forever (or at least since I read "The Lottery" in high school) and just hadn't gotten around to. Finally, I saw that the library had a copy of the audiobook and thought it would be perfect for...
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