Sunday, 31 January 2021

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

I love this picture, taken from Hot Date with a Good Book. My friend, Paul Magrs, started an online writing group. I was asking in there for examples of an unreliable narrator to show my students, and a lady called Kate Mandalov recommended this.

Shirley Jackson's beloved gothic tale of a peculiar girl named Merricat and her family's dark secret

Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate. 

It was, indeed, delightful.

“Merricat," said Connie, "would you like a cup of tea?"

"Oh no," said Merricat, "you'll poison me."

"Merricat," said Connie, "would you like to go to sleep? Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!"

I was surprised to discover it's from 1962, as it has a very contemporary feel about it. Little bit like a darker Graveyard Book

It's hard to know how to describe it. It's very original. Full of implied menace rather than graphic. Certainly 'modern Gothic,' though good Gothic is ageless. It's about two sisters and their infirm uncle, living alone in a large house after the rest of the family were accidentally poisoned... or were they? 

Just a captivating read.

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