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  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle

  • Written by: Shirley Jackson
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (119 ratings)

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Written by: Shirley Jackson
Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
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Publisher's Summary

Shirley Jackson’s deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family takes readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, macabre humor, and gothic atmosphere.

Six years after four family members died suspiciously of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and eighteen-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.

Jackson’s novel emerges less as a study in eccentricity and more—like some of her other fictions—as a powerful critique of the anxious, ruthless processes involved in the maintenance of normalcy itself.

©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)

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What listeners say about We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Average Customer Ratings
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Amazing!

Fantastic! I was mesmerized by both the story, and the performance. Jackson's last novel is truly amazing.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully Macabre

I forgot I had purchased this audiobook and am so happy to finally listen to it. A dark fairytale highlighting the monstrous hearts of “good people.” It reminds me how much I love Shirley Jackson’s writing. Recommended for anyone who has ever read and loved The Lottery and wondered what else this talented author has written.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A must “read” for Shirley Jackson fans

One of my favourites. I used to read it every summer but my eyes are failing so I was very happy to see it here. If you love anything by Shirley Jackson you will love this.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very Well Written, Worth Reading, But Not Scary

I am giving five stars for the excellent writing skill of Shirley Jackson. I do have to mention that if not for this skill, I would only give this four stars, because the story isn't spooky. It just isn't. Disturbing, yes a little messed up, but not up to the hype of it being a scary story. Maybe folks were easier to scare back when? Definitely worth reading, but just don't expect to feel the need to check the closet or under the bed before you go to sleep.

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Amazing book

The storyline is absolutely astonishing and it’s not extremely hard to read. The metaphors are just complex enough to grasp quickly.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It's a good story, just very little pay off.

read if you like, it's not a bad read by any means... but the ending just kind of ends and nothing really makes you feel that final "yes!" moment.

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Now what?

Overall, this was a well written story and very interesting I have never read anything like it but there are a couple of unanswered questions that I wished were clarified... the book has a very anti-climactic ending so that’s a little disappointing but it’s funny to read during quarantine since were all staying in our houses.

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Superb

Well read and very immersive. Definitely good and comforting to listen to. I felt engrossed in the story.

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Atmospheric

Big on atmosphere, light on outright horror. I enjoyed the story very much. I was intrigued by the characters and I felt the narration truly did them justice. From what I understand, it is somewhat, slightly autobiographical.

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