These two girls and their elderly, infirm Uncle Julian are the last of their family, the rest having been wiped out by an unspeakable act of poisoning. A five star read for me. LibraryThing member luckycloud. LibraryThing member AltheaAnn. Merricat Mary Katherine and her older sister Constance live with their disabled uncle Julian in a rambling old house that used to house many more family members. Merricat ventures into town to shop once a week - no more, as her neighbors are actively hostile and rude toward her. However, there may be a very good reason for that hostility, as we gradually learn When the we suspect money-grubbing cousin Charles arrives on the scene, the precarious equilibrium that the two sisters have preserved in Blackwood House for the last six years will be disastrously upset.
This short book is a masterfully crafted, disturbing window into insanity - all the more so because I think that most of us can imagine wanting to eliminate all the things that upset us. We can all relate to wanting to protect those that love us. This writing shows how these urges, for these characters, gradually form a tightening garotte enclosing their lives, drawing them into an increasingly restricted tiny world of denial.
LibraryThing member lauralkeet. Mary Katherine "Merricat" Blackwood and her sister Constance live in their stately family home with their invalid uncle Julian. Constance is a recluse, afraid to go into the town. Merricat takes care of all the family errands, and endures the stares and catcalls from townspeople. Several years before, five other family members died after arsenic was put in the sugar bowl. Constance was acquitted, but the town won't let them get on with their lives.
So they pass their days quietly. Constance is in her late 20s and handles most of the cooking and household management. Merricat is 18 and helps out with certain tasks but prefers the outdoors and the company of her cat, Jonas. One day their cousin Charles appears on the scene, and attempts to insert himself into their lifestyle and into the family affairs. Charles is smarmy, and while his motives are unclear you can be sure they aren't good.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)
Constance appears to be falling for it, and only Merricat is suspicious. But then, as often happens in creepy stories, there's a cataclysmic event followed by a significant plot twist designed to make you question everything you've read so far. Unfortunately, the cataclysmic event was foreshadowed, and I spotted the twist long before it happened. I was disappointed, having read many reviews about how wonderfully creepy this story was. Shirley Jackson was the author of several novels and short stories, often involving elements of horror or the occult.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle was published in , and perhaps it just doesn't hold up well when compared to modern works of a similar nature. LibraryThing member tymfos. It was well-written, quite clever and original.
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It was engrossing -- I read it all in a day, while neglecting my other reads-in-progress that I've been pecking away at since last month. I had to see what was going on, it was all so weird. It had tremendous atmosphere. But I can't say I loved it -- or even really enjoyed it. I found the book disquieting and depressing. There was not one character in it that I truly liked except the cat. I can deal with some henious characters in books, but it's nice to have somebody that I like in the mix. I don't think there was one truly sane person in the book, except maybe Charles and he was a greedy little horse's behind.
No, I take that back -- it's an insult to horses. LibraryThing member indygo I was unaware of this fairly well-known title until just recently, but the reviews made me curious, so I took advantage of the fact that I was able to listen to it on audio via Hoopla. They have become severely agorophobic and for the most part never venture out into the community. One day cousin Charles comes for an extended visit, and things deteriorate from there.
It has a Gothic-type feel, but yet is more humorous than a typical Gothic tale. It's odd, it's quirky, it's sort of creepy, and the characters are very eccentric. I still can't quite categorize Merricat who is the first-person narrator of this story. She is supposed to be 18 years old, but acts much younger, and displays a lot of characteristics reminiscent of Asperger's Syndrome.
Or perhaps she's mentally ill. It's difficult to ascertain for sure, and the clues in the story don't particularly make it obvious.
For those who enjoy something a bit out of the ordinary, I'd recommend this. It's not my typical genre and I have mixed feelings about it.
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But nonetheless, it would make a good discussion book. LibraryThing member Smiler Eigtheen year-old Merricat—otherwise known as Mary Katherine Blackwood—and her older beloved sister Constance live alone and like recluses with their senile old uncle Julian in the Blackwood mansion, cut off from their neighbours and the nearby villagers, who despise and mock the girls and encourage their children to do the same.
Six years previously, Constance was acquitted from charges of having poisoned her entire family, and the young women are intent on carving out a solitary existence and finding their own happiness, while uncle Julian is fixated on replaying the events of the day of the tragedy—when all their other family members died of arsenic poisoning—to put it all down in a book.
It's clear from the outset that Mary Katherine is eccentric at best, though more likely quite mentally deranged, seeking solace by sheltering herself in various outdoor hideouts and 'protecting' their household with magical words and by burying small treasures or nailing them to surrounding trees. Then comes cousin Charles, who is determined to get his hands on the family fortune, though the only one not to see this is Constance, which inevitably leads to more tragedy. It's a good story to be sure, but the whole time, I kept expecting some great surprise to come at the end, and was disappointed that I had failed to simply enjoy the ride instead.
Wonderful narration by Bernadette Dunne in the audio version, who adds plenty of ambiance to this spooky little novel. LibraryThing member bibliovermis. I can't really categorize this book; it doesn't quite fit anywhere. It is entirely itself. It's not really a mystery, there's no true horror, and it's got very minimal suspense.
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What it does have is an insidious, neck-hair-raising, somehow humorous dread. I guess what I can most compare it to is an Edward Gorey illustration. I liked it very much!
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LibraryThing member sturlington. This is the quintessential ghost story, told from the inside out — a perfect blend of creepiness and tenderness, of believability and otherworldliness. The story is told beautifully, drawing inexorably toward a climax of destruction. LibraryThing member gr. Spoilers abound in the following review; you have been warned.
So, first off: I'm reminded of Orwell's description of Kipling as a good bad author. I'm tempted to apply that to this book, though in a slightly different form. Where, from what I recall, Orwell was referring to the artlessness of Kipling's prose still resulting in a satisfying narrative, I can't help but feel that this is an unsatisfying narrative buoyed along by the artfulness of the prose. So, what are my issues? The ages of the characters.
Mary makes sense, in some ways: she's 18 but has grown up in isolation since she was And one gets the impression that she was spoiled and perhaps not entirely sane even before that. Her childishness is therefore forgivable. Constance, on the other hand, we are told is Yet she never feels like She never feels like 22 — the age at which she would have withdrawn from society — either. She feels younger; somewhere in her late teens instead. One's left with the impression that the ages were chosen because they fit the narrative — any younger wouldn't really be plausible — not because they necessarily fit the characters.
The mystery that wasn't. Jonathan Letham, in his introduction to this edition, seems to think that the true identity of the murdered is meant to be a "purloined letter" — hidden in plain sight and transparent to the reader. I'm not certain I agree with him, given the manner and point at which the information is finally revealed. I'm not entirely certain he agrees with himself either, as he describes some of Uncle Julian's comments as representing an in-story stand-in for the reader's questions — comments that only make sense if the mystery is not transparent.
Or, at least, not so immediately transparent that, when it first gets mentioned in Chapter 2, the true identity is blatantly obvious. A lot of the characters outside of the core three Constance, Mary, Julian come across as one-dimensional.
biuroanaliz.com/includes/como-conocer/nyd-cam-de.php Normally I'd attribute this to the fact that Mary, the narrator, has a grasp on reality that's a little tenuous and is likely unreliable. Except that there's never any good evidence, be it people's dialogue or actions, that can really be interpreted in any way other than how she views them. That all said: it's a wonderfully moody book, something which Jackson's always excelled at, and the two scenes where Mary is confronted by the local populace are, as is appropriate, discomforting to an extreme degree.
It's just that I'm not certain the plot holds up. Finally, two further notes having nothing to do with the actual novel itself, but are in reference to the edition that I read: Jonathan Letham's introduction is one of the worst I've read in a while, giving away every single plot point and coming across as completely muddled otherwise. Also, the Penguin Deluxe Classics design is absolute rubbish.
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