Thursday, October 31, 2019

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Fiction Review

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

Rating: Very Good
Source:  Library

Description:  My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. 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 dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead...

Genre:  Fiction 

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm a big Shirley Jackson fan and this is one I thought I had read years ago but never had.

My Impression:  Well this was a weird one.  I feel like I've got to be careful with what I say about this one.  I knew just about nothing going into this one and for once the blurb manages to not over inform.  Going in blind was definitely the way to go because hopefully like me that means you'll spend the whole book trying to figure out just what is going on and what exactly is the explanation for the more sinister hints that are dropped here and there.

One thing I'm always impressed with with Shirley Jackson's writing is that each one is so unique.  Hill House is nothing like The Lottery and The Lottery is nothing like Life Among the Savages and none of them are at all similar to this book.  The only thing linking Jackson's stories is her brilliant ability to very subtly create an atmosphere that runs through each and every book different though they may be. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I'm pretty sure this is the last of Jackson's books that I hadn't read but I'll definitely be on the lookout just in case I missed a few.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would though don't go in expecting full scale horror.  Jackson's version of creepy is far more subtle and leans more towards eerie then fear.


  1. I love Shirley Jackson’s short stories, but I’ve always felt “meh” about her novels. I still want to read this one, though. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. Great review! I am now FAR more interested, given she doesn't do full-on horror. Thank you for sharing:)

  3. I have never heard of her but it does sound intriguing. The fact she manages to have all her books so different is great.

  4. Just the title of this one creeps me out!

  5. I need to give this one a read sometime!!

  6. I will add this to my classics list for next year! 👍✨