We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson

Six stars

After having this novel recommended to me, I was eager to give Shirley Jackson’s piece a try. While I attempted a few times to get into the story, I could not find myself involved enough and left it to wither on the proverbial vine. Mary Katherine ‘Merricat’ Blackwood is living with a horrible cloud over her. A number of her family members died of arsenic poisoning in their home. Now, living with her sister and uncle, Merricat, must come to terms with the loss, while trying to face the other townsfolk. Outwardly hostile to the Blackwoods, the story shows how others mistreat them as the troubling news of the poisonings spread like wildfire. When a new member of the extended family arrives, thing take an interesting turn, though no one can truly be fully aware of what the Blackwoods are doing behind those doors, or what they have planned for others in the town. Less than intriguing for me, but something that others may highly enjoy, this book from the past shows that horror writing can touch all types of readers in different ways.

While it could be the writing style, the plot itself, or simply the intended audience, I was not able to full grasp the nuances of this book. Jackson does well to develop the setting and instils something into the dialogue that makes the reader sit up and understand that animosity is high. Still, I was left wanting more, be it something spookier or more entertaining. Penned close to sixty years ago, this book could surely be read and presumed it is from the present-day, though perhaps the younger audience would find something more alluring with the topic and how Mary Katherine goes about her business. I cannot lambaste it, as I know others have come to really enjoy Shirley Jackson’s work, though I will likely hold off for a time before returning for another helping.

Kudos, Madam Jackson, for the valiant effort in putting this story together. I cannot say that I was fulling committed, though I did give it a try.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons