21 March 2013

Review: We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson book cover
We Have Always Lived In The Castle was written by Shirley Jackson and published in 1962, and was one of Time Magazine's 'Ten Best Novels' of 1962.

Essentially a story about the Blackwoods who suffered a mass poisoning which killed several of their family members around the dinner table one night during dessert.  

Constance was tried but acquitted of the crime, and together with her younger sister Merricat, live with their Uncle Julian in the house where it all took place. The family are hated by the villagers and isolate themselves from all outsiders.

It is interesting to note that the author suffered from agoraphobia and has admitted that Constance and Merricat were fictional versions of her own daughters. This is where the interest ends for me though.

This short novel was strange and I never really 'got it'.  Merricat's narrative was dreamy and unreliable at times. At one stage I thought that perhaps Merricat was a ghost, or maybe they were all ghosts, but now I don't think so.  

One of my favourite authors Stephen King lists Shirley Jackson as one of his literary influences and her book The Haunting Of Hill House as one of the finest horror novels of the late 20th century.  

Perhaps I should have read that instead.

My rating = *

Carpe Librum!

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