zondag 23 augustus 2015

Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in the Castle


This one has been on my shelf for about 2 years so it’s time to read it. Especially as it’s only 146 pages and it has a 12-page afterword by Joyce Carol Oates.

“Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.”

I enjoyed this novel a lot. Like, a lot, a lot.
It’s weird and strange, but so, so good. Completely different from anything I’ve read before.
Great setting, amazing prose, very interesting characters who are very well painted.

The novel is very atmospheric. From the very start the tone is set. Once you’re in the novel there’s this chilling, ominous feeling creeping up throughout the novel. It’s engrossing, absorbing.
Especially once that hateful bastard Charles arrives. Man, how I hate him.
And still, you never know where the story is going. The ‘big mystery’ is rather easy to figure out, but the course of the story stays unclear for a long time. We know so little.

Their lives are going nowhere but they are happy the way they live. Incredible.

It’s almost a fairytale. Not with the happy end and the witch or evil stepmother etcetera, but the way the novel feels like it’s like reading a fairytale. Time stood still and it does again at the end.

Happy reading.