We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle cover

I had no plans to read We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, not so soon after reading The Haunting of Hill House anyway, but it almost leapt off a library display at me as I walked in.

Happily I enjoyed this one much more than Hill House. Jackson is known for her quirky characters and relationships and that’s exactly what we have in this book.

The Blackwood family consists of Constance and her younger sister Mary Katherine (Merricat) and their Uncle Julian. They live in a large and grand house where Constance spends her time cooking and Merricat does the food shopping in the nearby village. This is an onerous task as the Blackwoods are more or less outcasts. Uncle Julian is confined to a wheelchair and spends his time looking through his papers.

The family had been much larger and after a disastrous meal there had been only the three survivors. When a member of the extended family turns up things go from bad to worse. Cousin Charles is only interested in the money that he thinks is in a safe. He’s getting in between the two sisters who had until then been devoted to and protective of each other.

It’s a bit like a mystery/fairy tale/horror story rolled into one. A great read.

I’ve just realised that these books probably count as classics and would count towards the Classics Club. What do you think, would you count them as classics?

10 thoughts on “We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this. It’s such an unusual story and much better than The Haunting of Hill House, in my opinion. And I would definitely say Shirley Jackson’s books can be counted as classics – I hope so anyway, as I included her on my own Classics Club list!

    • Helen,
      I’ll definitely add those two to my list of classics read then. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who was less than impressed by The Haunting of Hill House. I read that Stephen King thinks it’s brilliant!

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