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We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Penguin…

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (original 1962; edition 2006)

by Shirley Jackson (Author), Thomas Ott (Illustrator), Jonathan Lethem (Afterword)

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7,3344041,137 (4.07)780
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.
Title:We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Authors:Shirley Jackson (Author)
Other authors:Thomas Ott (Illustrator), Jonathan Lethem (Afterword)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), Edition: Deluxe, 146 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading, To read, Read but unowned

Work Information

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

  1. 171
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (teelgee)
  2. 121
    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. 30
    Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (alalba)
  5. 20
    Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns (laytonwoman3rd)
  6. 20
    The Behaviour of Moths 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)
  7. 53
    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. 11
    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
  9. 22
    The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey (lahochstetler)
  10. 33
    The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (kraaivrouw)
  11. 01
    Goblin by Ever Dundas (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Similar tone (and Dundas credits Jackson in the book's afterword).
  12. 01
    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.
  13. 01
    Heartstones by Ruth Rendell (isabelx)
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» See also 780 mentions

English (392)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (402)
Showing 1-5 of 392 (next | show all)
2.5 stars - I preferred The Haunting of Hill House. ( )
  MerrylT | May 18, 2023 |
WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THIS CASTLE by Shirley Jackson. An engrossing, haunting read and short enough to read on one snowy morning! Filled with the trademarks of a Shirley Jackson work: class conflict, family dynamics, and unreliable narrators. Not scary, but haunting nonetheless.

(Also for some reason I thought The Others was based on this book? Probably because the title, but I think The Others is actually based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and for some reason I get Henry James and Shirley Jackson confused. So needless to say the ending was not quite what I expected) ( )
  MandyPS | May 13, 2023 |
Written in a simplistic manner from an unreliable teenager's perspective, it is equal parts unsettling and deception. Worth a read. ( )
  HCSimmons | Mar 11, 2023 |
  BegoMano | Mar 5, 2023 |
Constance and Mary Katherine (or Merricat, as she is known) Blackwood are sisters living with their disabled uncle Julian in a remote mansion on the edge of a small rural town. Their isolation is due largely to the ostracism they face from the townspeople because of a tragic incident that happened six years before: one evening at dinner, the rest of the Blackwood family died after being poisoned by arsenic, with only Julian surviving the event. Since Merricat was absent from the table at the time, Constance was accused of the crime. Although she was ultimately exonerated in court, she remains the object of scorn, fear, and derision in society. When a distant relative with suspect motives shows up at the sisters’ door, the fragile equilibrium of their existence is upset, which eventually leads to tragic consequences for almost everyone involved. The story ends with the two young women trying to restore their former lives despite the greatly diminished circumstances they now face.

With We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson concluded her legendary career as one the country’s foremost writers of horror and mystery tales. From the outset of the book, which is told from eighteen-year-old Merricat’s viewpoint, two things become abundantly clear. First, the novel is not really in the horror genre but it is eerily atmospheric; we feel the anxiety and isolation that the sisters face, even if we do not yet know why. Second, despite being the only socially functioning member of the Blackwood family, Merricat is a very unreliable narrator with ample issues of her own. The latter realization becomes particularly important as it provides a lot of the narrative tension that drives the story forward and helps to frame the destabilizing feelings induced by the arrival of the estranged cousin. Although brief in length, this is an engaging novel with a lot to say about several important themes—such as the effects of fear and isolation, familial loyalty, societal judgment, and the relativity of truth and guilt—which makes it an easy one to recommend. ( )
1 vote browner56 | Feb 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 392 (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 (44 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
Oates, Joyce CarolAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ott, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serra, Roseanne J.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teason, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Pascal Covici
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.
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English


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.

No library descriptions found.

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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