This is a first-person tale told in Mary Katherine’s (Merricat) perspective as she lives with her sister, Constance Blackwood and their Uncle Julian in their huge, old family house in a nameless village. Everyone else in their family died of arsenic poisoning some years earlier. The three of them live a normal life although hated and feared by their neighbors until their cousin Charles came.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is Shirley Jackson’s final work. She has alluring writing style that you wouldn’t want to put down the book until you finish it.
Isolation and death are recurring themes in the story. Add to that paranoid thinking as shown by Merricat several times which makes it more intriguing for me while reading. Such a thrill what she is going to do next.
This is an easy read and you can finish it in a day. It leaves you with several interpretations while trying to make sense of it all.
“A pretty sight, a lady with a book.”
“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 always thought about rot when I came toward the row of stores; I thought about burning black painful rot that ate away from inside, hurting dreadfully. I wished it on the village.”
“Fate intervened. Some of us, that day, she led inexorably through the gates of death. Some of us, innocent and unsuspecting, took, unwillingly, that one last step to oblivion. Some of us took very little sugar.”
“All our land was enriched with my treasures buried in it, thickly inhabited just below the surface with my marbles and my teeth and my colored stones, all perhaps turned to jewels by now, held together under the ground in a powerful taut web which never loosened, but held fast to guard us.”
Rating: 4/5 stars