Katy Bennett

Horror Writer And Poet

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle

by Shirley Jackson


Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics (1 Oct 2009)
ISBN-10: 0141191457
ISBN-13: 978-0141191454

Synopsis: 2 sisters live alone in the family home with their sick uncle. The equilibrium of their lives is upset when their cousin comes to visit.

Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle feels like a gothic fairytale. The 1st person narration tells the story from the eyes of an outsider feared by the local villagers. The narrator Mary Katherine is extremely likeable despite her kookiness and flights of fancy, the books opening lines drag us right into her mind.

Much of the sisters lives are steeped in upholding family traditions and customs and sticking rigidly to routine. The fear and suspicion of the villagers builds throughout the story to its hysterical climax changing the sisters lives forever.

This can be read as a simple story or you can unpick its many complexities. I was gripped by the book and sympathising with the two sisters despite the wrongs they were accused of.

Rating: 4/5