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We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Cover of We Have Always Lived in the Castle
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
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Shirley Jackson's deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family takes readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, macabre humor, and gothic atmosphere. Six...
Shirley Jackson's deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family takes readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, macabre humor, and gothic atmosphere. Six...
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  • Shirley Jackson's deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family takes readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, macabre humor, and gothic atmosphere.

    Six years after four family members died suspiciously of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and eighteen-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune—and manages to penetrate into their carefully shielded lives. Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods, resulting in crisis, tragedy, and the revelation of a terrible secret.

    Jackson's novel emerges less as a study in eccentricity and more—like some of her other fictions—as a powerful critique of the anxious, ruthless processes involved in the maintenance of normalcy itself.

 

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About the Author-

  • Shirley Jackson (1916-1965), a celebrated writer of horror, wrote such classic novels as We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, "The Lottery." Her work has been adapted to film, television, and theater and has influenced such writers as Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Richard Matheson.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine This story is a happy combination: a gripping listen matched to a narrator who delivers the story perfectly. While it's not action packed, thrilling, tense, or any of those other adjectives usually applied to a mystery, one just cannot switch it off. Told with an air of deep despair, it remains a tale that will not quit. There's no blood or gore, just a melancholy lady, whose voice is laden with fathomless unhappiness. There's something about the Blackwood family, hated by the people in the village . . . The whole sorry history is laid out by the youngest of the Blackwoods, a girl of 18. What has happened? What could possibly cause such terrible sadness and pain? It's a compelling journey to the depths of the human soul, with an ethereal narration that almost defies description. Just listen. B.D.J. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 26, 2010
    Since the mysterious death of four family members, the superstitious Mary Katherine "Merricat" Blackwood, her ailing uncle Julian, and agoraphobic sister Constance have lived in a bizarre but contented state of isolation. But when cousin Charles arrives in search of the Blackwood fortune, a terrible family secret is revealed. Bernadette Dunne's reading is flawlessly paced and suspenseful. The voices she provides the cast of characters are spot on: precocious Merricat is haunted and increasingly desperate; Constance is doting but detached; Uncle Julian is both pleasantly dotty and utterly unnerving; and Charles is the conniving villain listeners will love to hate. A treat for fans of mystery and suspense.

  • New York Times Book Review "A marvelous elucidation of life....A Story full of craft and full of mystery."

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    Blackstone Publishing
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