I had intended to finish reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson a few days ago, but life got in the way. Anyhow, I finished reading it last night. I’ve read Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” many times, and it’s some what of a high school classic.
Jackson has a very dark way of writing, however the darkness is all in her style rather than her diction. When taken apart, her work doesn’t sound all that dark at all, but some how she pieces it together to create a chilled feeling throughout your body. As I read, I had predicted the answer to the burning question, “who put the arsenic in the sugar bowl?” I had my suspicions, and they were confirmed but Jackson was able to play off the shadow of a doubt that I had about my theory.
Jackson is a terrific writer, her eerie tone makes this novella a great quick read if you feel like being creeped out and looking into the mind of quite a different kind of girl. Her style reminds me a little of Poe, but not as depressing.
I absolutely loved the way Jackson had her main character Mary Katharine, or Merricat personify the things around her. It was beautifully done.
I would recommend this novella to anyone looking for a good quick read. It’s only 146 pages, or at least the version I have is.