WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE
SHIRLEY JACKSON, 1962
My rating, ★★★★✫
Following my friend Rachel’s (who is majoring in English), recommendation, I read (listened through Hoopla) We Have Always Lived in The Castle. The narrator of the version I got was Bernadette Doone, and I liked her reading of this book.
I thought this was a recent book, maybe because of the Tim Burtonish cover, but it isn’t that new. It was published in 1962, 3 years before the author, Shirley Jackson, died. And it’s had adaptations, this is from Wikipedia:
In 1966, the novel was adapted into a stage play by Hugh Wheeler, premiering at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. In September 2010, Adam Bock and Todd Almond staged a musical version at the Yale Repertory Theatre.
A film adaptation from Michael Douglas’ production company Further Films and Great Point Media was filmed in Bray and Dublin, Ireland in 2016, starring Sebastian Stan, Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Daddario, Paula Malcomson, and Crispin Glover.
The book grabbed me from the beginning. Some reviewers at Goodreads commend Jackson for her story telling abilities, and I’m adding myself to the bunch. One review in particular, commented how the book had the charms of an old story, and I agree to that too.
Well told stories like this, are rich in layers, they keep you thinking, they pose moral questions, they explore the human map of emotions and conflicts, and they do so without the story loosing its integrity and appeal. This book will leave you with more questions than answers, and will keep you thinking about it, trying to solve some of the mysteries unsolved. The author did well dropping some hints and leaving the main questions open to the reader. Something I’d love to see it’d be a sequel of the life in the castle before this book starts. Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s movie did a bit of this when he presented us with a glimpse into the troubled life of Charlie Bucket. You may like it or not, but the idea of going back in time to add an interpreted dimension to the present is a way to keep the classic alive.
I wonder how those adaptations or movie are, because in a visual adaptation you must answer and decide on things that words alone don’t have to.
I don’t read a lot of mystery/horror, but I have to say that this book could be considered just fiction. It has no bad language, no overtly scary scenes, nothing gore nor grotesque. It’s captivating. I recommend it.
Have you read it?