Title: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
Publisher: Penguin Classics 2006
Genre: ? fiction?
Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: May Read and Review; 2011 – Slim Pickings; A to Z: J
Hands down one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read. There’s no gore or jump up scary moments. No demons or ghosts, at least not in the traditional sense. But there’s definitely something completely off about this book… and I loved it!
Jackson creates this world where we’re never really sure what’s real and what’s imagined. There’s a mystery, but one that isn’t central to the relationships. It’s more of a plot device. The part that got me was the daily schedule of the Blackwell sisters. Their created world apart from the village and the city. The atmosphere in the house. The descriptions of the rooms. The repeating conversations, especially from Uncle Julian. There were times that I wanted to put the book down, it was just too disturbing, and yet I desperately wanted to finish and find out what happened to the sisters. The ending shouldn’t have really surprised me, it made sense for the story. Yet I was left hoping for something else. But in a good way. I wished the sisters’ lives could have been different, but given their personalities and history, it could never have been different.
I absolutely loved “The Lottery” and “The Haunting” by Jackson, but somehow I never picked this one up. I decided to read it for my 2011: Slim Pickings challenge, but I would’ve gotten around to it just because anyway. This was a nice departure from zombies and contemporary romance. Next up: Steampunk!
And I might I say, the cover…. extra creepy!