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madbkwm

madbkwm

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ott, Jonathan Lethem As does everyone else, I loved The Lottery and so, when I saw this at the library I picked it up. Jackson has the same tone throughout as she does in The Lottery. It is very suspenseful and malicious, undertones of danger and evil. However, the Castle is not as neat and does not hold together as well.

First, the narrator (Merricat) is supposed to be 18, but she sounds more like 10-12. She is treated as such by Constance (her older sister) and the townspeople (in the beginning when she visits) and Charles (the cousin). It is not clearly laid out, but I think Merricat must be mildly mentally handicapped. I was thinking autism or down syndrome based on her obsessive compulsive rituals. I did figure out that Merricat was the murderer fairly early on; again, I think Constance was willing to take the rap in part because she needs to protect Merricat.

Second, I didn't like that so many pieces were unresolved. Besides the big obvious one (why did Merricat murder her family?), we don't ever get answers about why the townspeople hates the Blackwells or how their mother lost her town house. The beginning promises so much and certainly it is understandable that the townspeople might not have liked the wealthy landowners. BUT that is not enough to turn them into a lynch mob. Once the murder and acquittal happens, there would be more mystery surrounding the girls, but if the townspeople hated them so much in the first place they would be interested and happy about the murder, not angry over it.

I expected more from the author and was captivated by the tone, but overall it just felt like it wasn't really thought out as much as just spewed.