We Have Always Loved Shirley Jackson

“I was pretending that I did not speak their language; on the moon we spoke a soft, liquid tongue, and sang in the starlight, looking down on the dead dried world.”

-We Have Always Lived in the Castle Shirley Jackson

To say I am excited to talk about this novel is quite the understatement.  Not only the best novel I have read so far in 2019, but one of the best I have ever read.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle is the second book I have read by Shirley Jackson, the first being The Haunting of Hill House.  I came across The Haunting of Hill House at a second-hand shop and picked it up on a whim.  I had read a short story or two of Jackson’s and figured it was worth the read, plus- a perfect pick for the Fall time which was when I happened to end up reading it.  I loved the novel and devoured every page of it.  I knew my love for Jackson had begun and thus here we have this book review.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is the story about 18 year old Mary Katherine and her sister Constance and the interesting life they live after the hardships of previous incidents in their lives.  It is not clear why the two girls live alone, nor is it revealed until later on in the novel.  The book, similarly to the first I read is captivating.  Jackson has such a unique way of writing that not only are her works intriguing, but irresistible as well.  I haven’t felt this way about a novel in a while where I couldn’t wait to pick it up again and read to find out what happens next.  Part mystery, part psychological, this novel will keep you wondering the whole way through.  One aspect I really enjoy about Shirley Jackson’s writing is her ability to go back and forth between the protagonists actual thoughts and what the character actually says out loud.  She does it in such an effortless manner that it not only is easy to follow, but makes the works that much more enjoyable to read.  Another aspect that I enjoy about Jackson’s works is the length of the novels.  I have felt with both the novels I have read of hers, that there wasn’t anything that should’ve been added or taken out.  She is very deliberate in every word she chooses and I really cannot say enough good things.

If you are new to Shirley Jackson and want a good place to start I find either the two novels I have mentioned to be great places to begin.  I would recommend The Haunting of Hill House if you are going to read one of her works during the Fall months, closer to Halloween, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle for anytime during the year, however both are great choices.  If there is just one thing to take out of this post it is to read Shirley Jackson.  I am so looking forward to reading more of her works and continuing on my journey of this fantastic author.

Quote of the Day: 

“A pretty sight, a lady with a book.” – Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle

5 Star Rating:


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