We Have Always Lived in the Castle Free download º 102

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle Free download º 102 á Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse isolated and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate This edition features a nTaking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a delicio. This book is a masterpiece It is short and spare and written in crystal clear prose yet so evocative that it is richer in nuance than most good novels twice its size It is so good I could kick myself for not reading it years ago yet so mythic I am convinced I have known it always like a tragic folktale or a chilling childhood dream And yet for all its grimness it is essentially a comedy darkly transcendently funnyThe Blackwood sisters—28 year old Constance and 18 year old Mary Katharine—live in a big old house on the outskirts of town They are fitfully persecuted by the locals who are convinced one of them is a murderer their whole family—with the exception of scatterbrained Uncle Julian—was poisoned with arsenic six years ago Now the three survivors—along with their black cat Jonas—are living together in deliberate tranuility when long lost cousin Charles arrives on their doorstep barely concealing his interest in the lovely Constance and the Blackwood family estateThe narrative voice of Merrycat—nickname for Mary Katherine—is perhaps the most distinctive thing about the novel Deceptively childlike obsessed with omens magic words and lucky days Merrycat is nevertheless a clear and sharp eyed observer of the day to day events of her world Her naive shrewdness speaks to us like Huckleberry Finn’s her uirkiness charms us like Holden Caulfield’s yet she possesses a distance a reserve that is all her ownThose of you who read novels like autobiographies will find tantalizing tidbits here The local village resembles Jackson’s North Bennington Vermont a place Jackson always felt treated her family as outsiders college eggheads Democrats atheists Jews and provided her the inspiration for her notorious early success “The Lottery The two sisters were inspired by Jackson’s two daughters the placid and cautious Constance by Joanne and the superstitious and daring Merrycat by Sarah But of course Jackson drew on herself for inspiration too particularly from her fascination with witchcraft and sympathetic magic and her persistent crippling agoraphobia And Cousin Charles resembles her husband in his critical comments about the housekeeping and his continual concerns about money Although husband Stanley was a literary critic his wife Shirley was the literary cash cow of the family and he once calculated precisely how much money was lost whenever his wife wasted her valuable time composing a letter to a friendPerhaps what I like best about the book—besides the dark humor and the voice of Merrycat of course—is its sweet and sad conclusion After the destruction has passed and gone—a climax which reveals the full impact of the novel’s title—we witness a family rebuild an old life out of love and even glimpse a little human compassion for a change It is the twilight happiness of Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale and The Tempest the kind of happiness Lear and Cordelia might have enjoyed if they had livedHere is the novel’s famous first paragraph which gives you a good idea of Merrycat’s distinctive voice My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood I am eighteen years old and I live with my sister Constance I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length but I have had to be content with what I had I dislike washing myself and dogs and noise I like my sister Constance and Richard Plantagenet and Amanita phalloides the death cap mushroom Everyone else in my family is dead

Shirley Jackson ☆ 2 Read

Usly unsettling novel about a perverse isolated and possibly murderous family and the struggle that e. My favorite Shirley Jackson novel A masterpiece of unreliable narration and of the eerie relationship between childishness and horrorI'm now re reading this for a December group read so I thought I'd update this review as I goA lot has already been written about the masterful opening paragraph of this book so I'll focus instead on the opening chapter It basically involves the narrator Merricat walking into town to do some shopping Sounds boring It's anything but that Shirley Jackson uses this mundane task to show the intense hostility between the Blackwood family and the town as well as to show Merricat's rather unusual character She's childish and playful I played a game when I did the shopping I thought about the children's games where the board is marked into little spaces and each player moves according to a throw of the dice The library was my start and the black rock was my goal And as she navigates this terrain full of landmines in the form of other people who taunt her and laugh at her she can't help flashing her own hostility They saw me at once and I thought of them rotting away and curling in pain and crying out loud; I wanted them doubled up and crying on the ground in front of me Until at last she reaches the sanctuary of her homeIt's a sanctuary that's as much magical as physical I had to put down the shopping bag to open the lock on the gate; it was a simple padlock and any child could have broken it but on the gate was a sign saying PRIVATE NO TRESPASSING and no one could go past that And then she sees the most important person in her life her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian the last surviving members of her familyBut almost immediately that sanctuary is violated Helen Clarke and Mrs Wright come to tea and we see Merricat fretting over what this will do to Constance whether she's strong enough for visitors There's a jealousy in Merricat that reminds me of the jealousy Eleanor has regarding Theodora in The Haunting of Hill House a subterranean feeling that comes out in flashes of anger like when Merricat smashes the milk pitcher in the kitchenThe scene with Helen Clarke and Mrs Wright is also notable for its comedy how everyone keeps dancing around the subject of the family deaths except that Mrs Wright can't help herself she really wants to know and Uncle Julian is than happy to oblige by giving a guided tour of the dining room Shirley Jackson has uite a comic touch here though it's all undergirded by Merricat's ill feelings toward these visitors and the recognition of the horrifying tragedy that befell her familyShirley Jackson expertly ratchets up the tension by having Merricat sense something impending A change was coming and nobody knew it but me What's wonderful about this is that it raises the tension level even as you wonder whether something really is coming or whether she's just living in her own imagination It also allows for some domestic scene setting and banter with Uncle Julian without losing the narrative drive I love when Merricat chooses three special protective words thinking that so long as these great words were never spoken aloud no change would come She then writes the first word in jam on her toast and eats it thinking that makes her one third safeThe change of course is cousin Charles who arrives without much explanation and basically moves in It's clear right away that he's a gold digger and you can sense Merricat's rising anger and panic as he threatens her entire world by threatening to marry Constance She employs her childish form of magic to try to ward him off or get him to leave but nothing works sending her spiraling into extremes It's clear that Merricat thinks of him as the enemy when she watches him walk into town and talk easily to all the townsfolk who've been bullying her He's one of them in her mind and at that point the battle lines hardenOne of the subtle mysteries of this book concerns the relationship between Merricat and Uncle Julian My GR friend Nancy first pointed out in a group discussion that they don't really interact except that Merricat keeps saying to herself that she ought to be nicer to him I thought this was uite a profound insight so I read the passages again closely and noticed the same oddity Uncle Julian says at one point that Merricat is dead and then when Uncle Julian dies Merricat hardly seems upset at all In fact she seems rather relieved claiming that now she and Constance can start over again Clearly there's something odd going on between them My guess is that Merricat feels jealous of Uncle Julian that she really wants Constance all to herself Spoiler alert to the end Perhaps this is also a clue to the motivation behind the central crime that it was really driven by Merricat's jealous desire to have her sister all to herself Here again I see shades of Eleanor from The Haunting of Hill HouseAnd finally at the end Merricat gets exactly what she wants Constance all to herself And Constance herself gives herself to Merricat's superior power gives up any hope of having her own life She cries as Charles leaves for the last time and says Merricat I am so happy And Merricat herself echoes this sentiment in the book's final chilling line Oh Constance she says we are so happy

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We Have Always Lived in the CastleNsues when a cousin arrives at their estate This edition features a new introduction by Jonathan Leth. AKA Grey Gardens by William Faulkner Are these unfortunate souls dead or alive in their domestic limbo Oh this is one delicious yarn with plenty of turns with a terror that comes to us only by the Literary Mistress of the Dark Herself Shirley Jackson The luxurious morbidity the Harper Lee Goth cynicism of the book it is all an absolute delight I am truly beginning to think that all of her books are like this one simply the classiest horror of ALL TIME