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

Shirley Jackson is best known for The Haunting of Hill House and has a reputation for scary stories. I’m not keen on stories that have a net effect of making me more afraid of the dark, but We Have Always Lived in the Castle presents a different kind of horror. Mary Katherine and Constance Blackwood live with their uncle in a grand mansion at the edge of a town filled with fearful and envious people. The reader understands, as the Blackwoods do, that their only security lies in seclusion. Between mounting tension with the town and the unexpected arrival of their grasping cousin, it is clear their security cannot last indefinitely.

[NOTE: As the suspense of the story is entirely dependent on not knowing when or how this dam will break, if you have a copy of this work that includes Jonathan Lethem’s introduction DO NOT READ IT before the book. When he discusses WHALitC, he dissects it point by point to thoroughly and completely spoil it for anyone who might be reading it for the first time.] read more