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We Have Always Lived in the Castle Audiobook

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

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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 (1779 )
5 star
 (718)
4 star
 (542)
3 star
 (357)
2 star
 (108)
1 star
 (54)
Overall
3.9 (1597 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (1592 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (38)
1 star
 (27)
Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Okay, OK, United States 10-18-11
    Amazon Customer Okay, OK, United States 10-18-11 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dark Gothic Horror"

    If you enjoy dark stories of slowly creeping madness, give this one a listen. I couldn't turn it off.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela 07-13-11
    Pamela 07-13-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
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    26
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Shirley Jackson can still Spook you"

    I read this book many years ago along with "The Haunting of Hill House". Shirley Jackson had a genius for the inner monologue of her main characters. This form of listening to the story makes it impossible for us not to want to interject a little more wisdom into that shallow gene pool of a town.
    You know what is bound to happen but you must listen pulled along by the story's intense rhythm and the narrator's voice. Like a picnic in a grave yard, this small piece of classic horror, makes you aware that it is not the dead we have to fear.
    I can't wait to share this one with my daughter, who shares my love of all sorts of plants and fungi. Especially those that can kill.LOL

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Montgomery Village, MD, United States 08-13-14
    Laura Montgomery Village, MD, United States 08-13-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    313
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    783
    120
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    70
    15
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    Story
    "two stars"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I found this book creepy - but I don't really know what was going on. Two stars instead of one b/c maybe I just wasn't smart enough to figure it out. Put it down. Money down the drain ...


    How could the performance have been better?

    I've read books since and can't put my finger on it, but I do remember I didn't care for the narrator.


    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kora 11-09-17
    kora 11-09-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    1
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    Story
    "Short spooky, wonderfully written!"

    I had no idea what to except going into this book! I loved every creepy minute of it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol 10-21-17
    Carol 10-21-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    64
    20
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "You have to read between the lines"

    Weird but atmospheric tale of of two sisters, Merricat and Constance who live in agoraphobic isolation in a large old house with their senile old wheelchair bound uncle Julian. All of the rest of their family is long dead. Poisoned with arsenic six years ago. Constance stood trial for the deaths but was acquitted. Still the towns folk taunt and bully them. Thinking Constance killed her family with poisoned food. So the sisters stay at home. With money in a safe instead of a bank.

    Eighteen year old Merricat is the only one who ever leaves the house, going out twice a week for food. Dodging the stares and condemnation of the towns folk. Merricat, the narrator of the story lives in a fantasy life. Wishing to be on the moon when people get to close to her. When ever they make fun of her she retreats into her fantasy world.

    Her older sister Constance watches over every one constantly cooking, cleaning, gardening and baking and making tea. The entire story is a conversation in Merricat's warped brain. Child like fantasy life of an 18 year old. The unreliable narrator. The best parts of the book are what is not said but implied. Is Constance afraid to leave the house or is there something else going on? This is where Jackson's writing excels. But you have to have the patience to worm out the the unsaid from the silly babbling of girl who refuses to grown up. The implied but not spoken. Mericat buries objects in the garden. She has adventures in her head. Plays and talks to her cat. She secretly wishes people dead or disappeared. She places talisman all over their garden to ward off evil. Then one day a book she nailed to a tree falls and she thinks it is a bad omen. Something bad will happen. And it does.

    Excellent writing but such a depressing story of cruelty, manipulation and mental illness. Not at all a horror story but very atmospheric. Leaving more mystery behind. This story is haunting without being a horror story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica 10-20-17
    Jessica 10-20-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Twist"

    You don't see it coming, but when it happens, you realize it was meant to happen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-08-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "A classic tale on the insidiousness of isolation"

    Bernadette Dunne does an exceptional job capturing the odd, juvenile Merricat, and poor put-upon Constance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen D. 10-08-17
    Eileen D. 10-08-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best Mystery I ever Solved on the First Page"

    The initial mystery, a reason that many might pick up the book, isn't so much a mystery as a secret divulged in the very first pages of the book. Though this is a harbinger of a novel dead in the water, it proves a marvelous opening to a book. The novel is enveloped in Shirley Jackson's unparalleled psychological writing style, with an unreliable narrator who seems to be on the precipice of insanity. Matters of the mind are the heart and soul of this book, and anyone acquainted with Ms. Jackson's own suffocating anxieties will immediately see its influences in this book. The tone is eerie, the characters presenting themselves as mysteries the reader will delight in learning more about. The villains, although initially seeming to bear the brunt of the narrator's undue fears and biases, they prove capable of a chilling mob mentality. Bernadette Dunne exquisitely sets the narrative tone, without delivering a hamfisted attempt at a psychological thriller. It's a thin line between ghoulishness and ghoulish overkill, and She toed the line wonderfully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Spencer Knapple 08-28-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not my cup of tea"

    Decent prose, but ultimately a wandering story that never quite hits the mark. Perhaps some like these kinds of books but I am definitely not a fan of a book that has very little pay off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rae 08-10-17
    Rae 08-10-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    68
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not sure how to feel"

    I'm new to Shirley Jackson and had no idea what to expect. On one hand, it's well written. On the other, the book was incredibly slow to start and I'm feeling very "What just happened?" The performance was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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