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We Have Always Lived in the Castle Audiobook

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune.
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Publisher's Summary

Six years after four family members died of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and 18-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune—and manages to penetrate into their carefully shielded lives. Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods, resulting in crisis, tragedy, and the revelation of a terrible secret.

©1962 Shirley Jackson (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“At certain moments, quietly, in quick, subtle transitions of tone, Miss Jackson can summon up stark terror, make your blood chill and your scalp prickle....To all the classic paraphernalia of the spook story, she adds a touch of Freud….” (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1075 )
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  •  
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 10-14-15
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 10-14-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    127
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    "Creepy, spooky and interesting"

    I'm not quite sure what to say about this book...confusing at times, well written, and an excellent story with unique characters that kept my attention. It also definitely was creepy and was an excellent Halloween-time read! The narration was quite good and I found myself liking Merricat, despite (or maybe because of) her eccentricities. The main characters were well developed and quite interesting, particularly in their interactions with Constance. Even the townspeople, who were not central figures in the story, lurked in the background and shaped the main characters' lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karissa Eckert 10-11-15 Member Since 2012

    Devourer of all books fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A bit slow and unfinished feeling"


    I have had this book in my to be read pile for quite a while. I was excited to finally read it. The story was a bit slow but does a good job of showing the cruelty of a mob and the isolation of those with mental illness.

    I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was well done. The narrator does an excellent job with emotion and different character voices.

    Merricat, her sister Constance, and her Uncle Julian live in isolation on the Blackwood estate. The Blackwoods are shunned after an incident with arsenic in a sugar bowl left four of the Blackwoods dead. Constance was accused of the murder but has since been acquitted. However the town continues to scorn them. Merricat and Constance could care less, living a calm and quiet life. That is until their cousin Charles shows up and drags the Blackwoods back into the spotlight.

    This was an interesting book but fairly slow and with a story that doesn’t really wrap up at the end. The majority of the characters have some sort of mental illness going on. Merricat is a sociopath and wishes everyone in the village dead all the time despite being very loyal and protective of her sister. She also practices some sympathetic magic and does odd quirky things believing that they will keep her and Constance stay safe. Uncle Julian survived the poisoning but hasn’t been right since constantly forgetting who is alive and dead and what he is doing.

    Constance is strangely passive and agoraphobic. Constance can never make herself leave the house or garden because of this phobia. She is also strangely accepting of Merricat’s strange sociopathic behavior and goes out of her way to provide a loving and safe environment for Merricat.

    As you can imagine with their strangeness they are strongly persecuted in the small New England town they live in. Parts of this book really show the vileness of humanity and how cruel a mob of humans can become.

    The plot was a bit unfinished feeling. Some bad things happen to Merricat and Constance but they both take the events in stride, only changing their routines in small ways with no thought to the future. They both seem perfectly happy to eke out a living in isolation. There is really no end to the story, it just stops.

    Overall this was an okay story. It’s a bit slow and doesn’t really have much of a plot per say. It does show an interesting look at small town New England life and how people who were different were persecuted in very harsh ways. Additionally it shows the different aspects to a sociopath's personality; Merricat is both loving and terrifying. It’s a quick read, so while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it it’s not a bad read. If it sounds interesting to you give it a try, it’s well enough written if a bit slow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Smail Summerville, SC United States 10-09-15
    S. Smail Summerville, SC United States 10-09-15 Member Since 2013

    34. Married. Cats. Lizards. Disney. Ghostbusters. TMNT. Rifftrax. 20,000 Leagues. Nail polish. Fibro sufferer. Likes bees. A lot.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I expected, but still a great book."

    I went into this book expecting something creepy and disturbing, but that's not exactly what I got. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved this book but at no point was I creeped out. Perhaps it's because I sympathized with the main character and I figured the "twist" (if you'd call it that) early on.

    All in all I highly recommend this book, but don't necessarily go into it expecting scares.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. T. McConnell 09-13-15

    Obsessive reader and listener; it's a sick thing!

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    "Chilling and absolutely perfect"

    I'm new to Jackson's work, but this is an instant favorite. it had all the urgency and magical quality that begs sympathy with the narrator, even as you come to realize the truth. Chilling in all the right ways.

    My only complaint with Dunne's reading is her silly men's voices, but it doesn't take away from the overall effect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 08-04-15
    Mary 08-04-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Creepy and unsettling"
    Would you listen to We Have Always Lived in the Castle again? Why?

    Yes, I would. The story is engaging yet disturbing. The folie à deux of the two sisters is terrifying.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of We Have Always Lived in the Castle?

    The moment that sticks with me most is the when the sisters are hiding after the house fire and Merricat confesses to Constance. There's something soul-crushing about the matter-of-fact way it is presented. One wonders when the madness began.


    Have you listened to any of Bernadette Dunne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not but I certainly would again. She does an excellent job.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wanted to but was unable to. I'm glad I didn't though. Gave more time to digest it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teddy 07-30-15
    Teddy 07-30-15 Member Since 2015

    I'm a monkey!

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    "A dissappointment"
    Would you try another book from Shirley Jackson and/or Bernadette Dunne?

    I love Shirley Jackson but this story is fairly predictable and lacks real tension.


    What does Bernadette Dunne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The reader does a great job it's just the story doesn't really take off.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johnny Quest 07-25-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A small tale of a very dysfunctional family"

    Or remnants of a family. To be clear, while the narrator, Merricat, lives in a world of ghosts and magic, this is not a story about the supernatural. She is seriously mentally ill. Her older sister, Constance, who is agoraphobic, runs the home, caring for Merricat and the infirm and somewhat demented Uncle Julian.

    The rest of the immediate family died from arsenic poisoning six years before the story takes place. While Constance was probably always a fearful person, those fears were aggravated because she was tried for the murders of her family members. She was acquitted, but many of the town folk still think she put the arsenic in the food and killed the family.

    This is a small story that is well crafted. There is little action; it is mostly about Merricat's perceptions and related actions, and the interaction among family members. The story stayed with me. I didn't find it creepy, but it's sad. I picked it up in a sale and it was a good selection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    s larsen 07-21-15
    s larsen 07-21-15 Member Since 2013
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    "I do t know why this book has so many good reviews"

    I thought the plot was dull and underdeveloped. I figured out the "mystery" of it in about 2 seconds which made the whole rest of this book just limp on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zi Wang 07-02-15
    Zi Wang 07-02-15
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    4
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    "Meh... I'm not about that negativity"

    Weird story... The negativity of Mary Kat is sometimes unbearable. Sometimes there's a cool plot twist. Overall a good book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra L. Jacob US 06-16-15
    Sandra L. Jacob US 06-16-15 Member Since 2015

    Sleo

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A haunting tale"

    A tale of mental illness and murder. Brilliant writing. One of the happier Audible daily deals. Glad I got it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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