Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by…

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (original 1962; edition 1984)

by Shirley Jackson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3862001,603 (4.07)548
Title:We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Authors:Shirley Jackson
Info:Penguin Books (1984), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:sisters, murder

Work details

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (1962)

  1. 131
    Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (teelgee)
  2. 60
    The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (taz_)
    taz_: I suspect that Iain Banks' "Wasp Factory" character Frank Cauldhame was inspired by Shirley Jackson's Merricat, as these two darkly memorable teenagers share a great many quirks - the totems and protections to secure their respective "fortresses", the obsessive superstitions that govern their daily lives and routines, their isolation and cloistered pathology, their eccentric families and dark secrets. Be warned, though, that "The Wasp Factory" is a far more explicit and grisly tale than the eerily genteel "Castle" and certainly won't appeal to all fans of the latter.… (more)
  3. 20
    The Sister by Poppy Adams (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Two sisters with a mysterious relationship and dark history together, unreliable narrators, dark, old, rural houses with mysteries of their own... Though the books take different plotlines, they share so many similar elements that people who enjoyed the setting and storytelling of one will likely enjoy the other.… (more)
  4. 10
    The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen (Nialle)
    Nialle: Young, emotionally complex, imaginative narrators in isolated situations - have something going on that the reader only glimpses before the big reveal
  5. 10
    Who was Changed and Who was Dead by Barbara Comyns (laytonwoman3rd)
  6. 10
    A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (sturlington)
    sturlington: Sisters named Merry. Tremblay was clearly influenced strongly by Jackson.
  7. 32
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (citygirl)
    citygirl: Castle is much darker and Flavia is more adorable than creepy (Merricat is quite creepy), but if you're interested in unusual young protagonists, with a very particular world view, try these.
  8. 21
    The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey (lahochstetler)
  9. 22
    The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (kraaivrouw)
  10. 00
    Heartstones by Ruth Rendell (isabelx)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 548 mentions

English (197)  Italian (2)  French (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
'I like my sister Constance...and the death cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead'
By sally tarbox on 3 May 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Utterly weird and compelling read, narrated by 18 year old Merrikat Blackwood. As it opens, she's being sent out for the groceries - a hated task since 'the people of the village have always hated us.' Back home lies security, in the beautiful family home, which they keep fenced in, with just her beloved sister, Constance, and feeble, senile Uncle Julian.
We soon come to learn that the rest of the family were murdered, and Constance was acquitted. So is Merrikat protecting a dangerous murderess back home? Or was Merrikat the guily one? Or even Uncle Julian?
A tale of madness, with a quite unexpected outcome.
This is an intense read; although only 146 pages I couldn't manage it in one go. Absolutely brilliant - I shall be reading more of Ms Jackson's work. ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
Are the Blackwood sisters just quirky the way recluses can be? Or is there something more disturbing lying beneath the surface of their peculiar world?

This book is masterful in the way it builds an atmosphere of horror through nothing more than hints and subtle revelations. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived In The Castle is an entertaining piece of Gothic fiction. I enjoyed the dark atmosphere and the sense of mystery surrounding the house and it's inhabitants. It is not so dark though as I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers who enjoy a bit more of a darker fiction genre. ( )
  BrittanyLyn | Jun 23, 2016 |
This built up the atmosphere nicely, but for me, fizzled out at the end. Mary Katherine (Merricat) and her older sister Constance live with their uncle Julian in the family home after Constance was acquitted of their murder. Uncle Julia is feeble, and Merricat has been running wild in the six years since the rest of the family was poisoned. Cousin Charles comes to visit, lured by the thought of riches that the sisters have in the house.

Then, spoiler alert, the house burns down and everything goes on as normal, including the less than surprising news that of course it wasn't Constance that poisoned the family. Yawn. But 3 stars for the atmosphere created. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
What an interesting and intoxicating tale. I actually listened to this as an audiobook. It was sooo creepy and interesting. I loved the atmosphere and setting. Shirley really goes into great detail and makes you feel like you are in that house with them.
This was not really in the a horror genre, this was a classic Gothic. I truly enjoyed it. I felt so sorry for these sisters, it was really sad how people treated them.
There is clearly some major mental illness from the narrarator, you sometimes forget she is 18 years old. ( )
  XoVictoryXo | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
Of the precocious children and adolescents of mid-twentieth-century American fiction ... none is more memorable than eighteen-year-old "Merricat" of Shirley Jackson's masterpiece of Gothic suspense We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962).

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shirley Jacksonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Franzén, TorkelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Pascal Covici
First words
My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood.
Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?
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!
You will be wondering about that sugar bowl, I imagine. Is it still in use? you are wondering; has it been cleaned? you may very well ask; was it thoroughly washed?
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 else in my family is dead.
Our house was a castle, turreted and open to the sky.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
The quiet, isolated life of the Blackwoods--eighteen-year-old Merricat; her older sister, Constance, who may have poisoned their parents six years ago; and their wheelchair-bound uncle--is disrupted by the arrival of a cousin pursuing the family fortune.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143039970, Paperback)

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." --Sarah Waters

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:32 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
912 wanted5 pay8 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.07)
1 10
1.5 1
2 35
2.5 14
3 165
3.5 93
4 412
4.5 94
5 367


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141191457, 0141194995

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 107,611,676 books! | Top bar: Always visible