We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Paperback)

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By Shirley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem (Afterword by), Thomas Ott (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem (Afterword by), Thomas Ott (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

While I’m certain you’ve read “The Lottery” once or twice--it’s the most anthologized short story out there, after all--I’m concerned that you may not have given Jackson’s equally creepy novels a try. My favorite is her last, a truly bizarre little book called WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE that Jackson wrote after agoraphobia and substance abuse had effectively rendered her a prisoner in her own home. The novel centers around a makeshift family holed up in their own big old house: the feral, witchy Merricat; her beloved and anxious older sister Constance; and their infirm Uncle Julian. For reasons that slowly, horribly become clear to the reader, the family is bullied and reviled by the citizens of their small New England town, and manage to live in almost complete isolation for seven years until an upstart cousin comes to town and upsets the precarious balance of their lives. A twisted, eerie little psychological tale that also serves as a brilliant metaphor for Jackson’s own deteriorating mental state. You’d be crazy to miss it!

— Danielle

If you only know Jackson from The Lottery, please read this one. You will never forget the Blackwood Sisters. Deliciously creepy, claustrophobic, and wonderful.

— From Joy Recommends


Shirley Jackson's beloved gothic tale of a peculiar girl named Merricat and her family's dark secret

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 new introduction by Jonathan Lethem.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

About the Author

Shirley Jackson (1919–1965), a celebrated writer of horror, wrote many stories as well as six novels and two works of nonfiction.

Jonathan Lethem is the author of numerous acclaimed novels, including Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude.

Praise For…

“A marvelous elucidation of life…a story full of craft and full of mystery” —The New York Times Book Review

“A witch’s brew of eerie power and startling novelty” —The New York Times

“I was thrilled by the genuine but meaningful strangeness of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.” —George Saunders

“Jackson’s novel is so wonderfully creepy that students usually feel subversive just for reading it. Add to that one of the most brilliantly realized unreliable narrators in fiction and the book becomes irresistible.” —Marlon James

Product Details
ISBN: 9780143039976
ISBN-10: 0143039970
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: October 31st, 2006
Pages: 160
Language: English
Series: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition