Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Title: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 146
Release Date: 1st October 2015 (first published 1962)
Edition: Paperback
Goodreads | Book Depository

Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn’t leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family.


I think I’m making my rating system much stricter than before. I feel bad I gave it eight instead of nine or ten stars but sadly it didn’t give me 100% satisfaction. I guess I expected too much of this book because of all the good things I’ve heard.

I love Shirley Jackson’s writing and I want to read more of her books. The story is carefully and beautifully crafted. Merricat’s voice is strange and disturbing but it fulfils the purpose of luring you into the story. But my favorite character is Uncle Julian, who’s always trying to figure out what happened on the night of the murder. I was surprised when the poisoner is revealed. I’ve suspected it before but I didn’t think it would really be that person.

What caused me to lower my rating is that Charles’s part seems too short to convince me he has the effect of bringing the change. Also, I was expecting to be frightened by it as I was with The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (I’m making the comparison here because both involve a mystery in the house), but sadly I just felt uncomfortable here and there.

My next Shirley Jackson read would be The Haunting of Hill House, I decided. I hope I’ll love it even more than this book. I’ll try not to expect too much.



2 thoughts on “Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

  1. Angesichts dessen, dass Frauen noch immer unterrepräsentiert sind – sowohl bei den Online-Usern, als auch bei den Nerds – plädiere ich seit Jahren schon vergeblich für eine un&denrhmenst#252;bergreifenee Kampagne “Frauen zurück an den Nerd”.


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