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We Have Always Lived in the Castle by…

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)

by Shirley Jackson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,9072851,446 (4.08)684
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.
  1. 141
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (teelgee)
  2. 91
    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. 30
    A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (sturlington)
    sturlington: Sisters named Merry. Tremblay was clearly influenced strongly by Jackson.
  4. 42
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery 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.
  5. 20
    Who was Changed and Who was Dead by Barbara Comyns (laytonwoman3rd)
  6. 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
  7. 21
    The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey (lahochstetler)
  8. 10
    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)
  9. 00
    The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (sturlington)
  10. 00
    Goblin by Ever Dundas (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Similar tone (and Dundas credits Jackson in the book's afterword).
  11. 22
    The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley (kraaivrouw)
  12. 00
    Heartstones by Ruth Rendell (isabelx)
  13. 00
    The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor (passion4reading)
    passion4reading: Though set within completely different landscapes, situations and time periods, each novel has the central theme of an outsider intruding upon an isolated close-knit family group, with disastrous consequences.
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» See also 684 mentions

English (280)  Italian (3)  French (2)  All languages (285)
Showing 1-5 of 280 (next | show all)
This is a really strange book, and I'm not entirely sure I understood it. People aren't exaggerating when they say Merricat sounds like a child. I'm not sure if it's deliberate, if it's supposed to be a sign that nothing has evolved in the last six years, but it can be annoying, especially when Merricat is acting particularly spiteful. I can easily see what someone might not enjoy this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. ( )
  Fardo | Oct 15, 2019 |
chilling and heartbreaking ( )
  bunnyhero | Oct 11, 2019 |
Strange, creepy story, almost gothic. I can't say I liked any of the characters. The plot was a little bit horrific, especially the way the family was treated by the townsfolk. I wonder what happens to the sisters as they grow older. Very well written and I loved reading it. ( )
  scot2 | Sep 28, 2019 |
Audiobook read by Bernadette Dunne - 18-year-old Mary Katherine Blackwood (Merricat) lives in a big old house with her sister and her uncle. Something traumatic happened to the rest of her family, and the nearby townspeople blame the Blackwoods for it. They resent the money the Blackwoods (used to) have, and only come by to gawk and gossip. When a long-lost relative comes out of the woodwork to claim family money, the tentative truce with the townspeople is broken.

Very Shirley Jackson-y. The story raises more questions than it ever answers. Merricat is an extremely unreliable narrator, to the point where it’s possible some supernatural shenanigans are going on, but we have no way of knowing. A very enjoyable, short audiobook. ( )
  norabelle414 | Aug 13, 2019 |
How I loved Jackson's The Lottery; how I dislike this book! The best description I can give is that this book is either magical realism or surrealism. The Blackwoods have endured the death of several of their family members by arsenic poisoning. Constance was tried for the crime, but acquitted by a jury. Nonetheless, the family, very old and wealthy, are town pariahs. However, throughout the book the reader questions themself as to the story--is it really happening, it is the figment of one's imagination, etc? Even by the end of the book, I don't have the answer! This book couldn't keep my attention. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Aug 10, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 280 (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 (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jackson, Shirleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bliss, HarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunne, BernadetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franzén, TorkelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lethem, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lethem, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ott, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serra, Roseanne J.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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.
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?
Our house was a castle, turreted and open to the sky.
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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
Charles strives to drive the
lioness from her den, but
Merricat has claws.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141191457, 0141194995

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