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