Friday, October 22, 2010

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Shirley Jackson. 1962. Penguin. 214 pages. 

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 narrator, Merricat--Mary Katherine Blackwood--tells her story in the first person. It's a strange story--to be sure--about two sisters who are still haunted in many ways by their tragic past.

Merricat--the sister "brave" enough to leave the house--hates to go to town. She does it because she must. Because groceries and library books are essential to life. Constance never goes outside the gates of the family estate--though she loves to be outside in her garden.

Most of We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a flashback. It shows how things went from bad to worse after the arrival of their cousin Charles. I'll say no more. I think it's better not to know what this one is "about" before beginning.

Did I like it? Well enough to keep reading! I read this one for the 24 Hour Read-a-thon. And it was a great choice. It was a quick read. In part because it's so short, but also because it's suspenseful, compelling.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kristi's Book Nook said...

This sounds kind of spooky and intriguing. I will have to add it to my list of must reads. Thanks for sharing and I hope you will stop by Kristi's Book Nook and check out the reviews.

Josette said...

I love the cover! And the story's pretty compelling...will look it up.

Jessica said...

I quite liked this one, I loved the childlike narration and the weridness of it.