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Book Rating (20)

Narrator Rating (7)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Shirley Jackson

Narrated By: Bernadette Dunne

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Date: January 2010

Duration: 5 hours 33 minutes


We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson's 1962 novel, is full of a macabre and sinister humor, and Merricat herself, its amiable narrator, is one of the great unhinged heroines of literature. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic, burying talismanic objects beneath the family estate, nailing them to trees, and ritualistically revisiting them. She has created a protective web to guard against the distrust and hostility of neighboring villagers. Or so she believes. But at last the magic fails. A stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune. He disturbs the sisters' careful habits, installing himself at the head of the family table, unearthing Merricat's treasures, talking privately to Constance about "normal lives" and "boy friends." Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods. The result is crisis and tragedy, the revelation of a terrible secret, the convergence of the villagers upon the house, and a spectacular unleashing of collective spite.

The sisters are propelled further into seclusion and solipsism, abandoning old habits in favor of an ever-narrowing circuit of ritual and shadow. They have themselves become talismans, to be alternately demonized and propitiated with gifts. 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.


  • Robert Y

    Rather slow, but creepy. There is a scene not of horror but of terror about half-way through. Well-written (well, it's Shirley Jackson). The reader is excellent.

  • Dina Stark

    I loved the tone of this book and the very odd characters. I did a combo of reading and listening and I do think the narration adds a bit of color and realism to the characters. Do not read the forward as it gives away some details you may not want to know. The book itself has a great quirky tone. It is a bit creepy, but I don't think it is scary. The end was a bit anticlimactic for me, but I think it was worth reading. It's a fast read/listen.

  • Ranyah Ghussein

    When I was looking for a "scary" book to listen to on the internet this book kept popping up, so I excitedly added it. I had high expectation but ended up being very disappointed! The book reads very slowly, and spends too much time rambling on and on about details that have no bearing on the story. The story is told in the form of a lot of nonsensical ramblings from a mentally unhinged protagonist. I really wish I didn't waste my credit on this!

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

by Shirley Jackson

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson