Family Matters (Oddly Alluring)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a novella narrated by 18-year-old Mary Katherine Blackwood who tells how she, her sister, and uncle are ostracized by the townspeople because of something that happened six years ago. That’s when most of their family members were murdered by arsenic which was added to the sugar bowl. Constance, Mary Katherine’s older sister, was arrested, tried, and acquitted—by the courts. But the people in town don’t believe true justice was done, so they dole out their own punishments by harassing them. No surprise, the three family members isolate themselves as much as possible from their hatred. They rarely let anyone into their little world---until Cousin Charles comes around one day and turns their world upside down.
This novella quickly drew me in with with its eccentric set of characters and kept me going with the subtle suspense of where it was all leading. I really enjoyed this dip in the dark, crazy pool. The story was short but mighty.
Author, Shirley Jackson, was a master storyteller. In school I read the short story, The Lottery and have never forgotten it. I call it a book burr—a story that clamped onto a part of my brain and stayed.
If you’re in the mood for a quick, gripping, definitely different kind of reading experience, I suggest you check out either one of these stories.
Questions or comments? Email Readinginthegarden@gmail.com