We Have Always Live in the Castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
Published: September 21, 1962
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, 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.
I decided to roll with my Shirley Jackson kick. I listened to this on audio and the narrator definitely did the story justice. Jackson has this way of setting a scene filled with tension and discomfort and questions. This story is rife with it all. Constance and Merrikat are the weirdos that urban legends are made of. Their family was murdered, Constance was the prime suspect, but acquitted, and now they live in their old family home alone with their Uncle Julian who spent the last decade of their lives trying to write a history of murders. The townspeople jeer and stare at Merrikat whenever she goes into town, but Constance will barely leave the house to go into the garden. Everything about this story is disturbing, but its very subtle.
I spent the whole book wondering about Merrikat. Is she mentally ill? Developmentally disabled? Who killed the family? And then the one scene where my blood boiled . . . But that’s a spoiler so I can’t say it. This is such a great example of Jackson’s iconic style and I think everybody should read it! Awesome story!!