> Skip to content
  • Published: 9 November 2009
  • ISBN: 9780141191454
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $22.99

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Shirley Jackson's masterpiece: the deliciously dark and funny story of Merricat, tomboy teenager, beloved sister - and possible mass murderer

Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn't leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family.

In her final novel, Shirley Jackson displays a mastery of suspense, family relationships and black comedy.

  • Published: 9 November 2009
  • ISBN: 9780141191454
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson was born in San Francisco in 1916. She first received wide critical acclaim for her short story 'The Lottery', which was published in 1949. Her novels - which include The Sundial, The Bird's Nest, Hangsaman, The Road through the Wall, We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House - are characterised by her use of realistic settings for tales that often involve elements of horror and the occult. Raising Demons and Life Among the Savages are her two works of nonfiction. Come Along With Me is a collection of stories, lectures, and part of the novel she was working on when she died in 1965.

Also by Shirley Jackson

See all

Praise for We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Her greatest book ... at once whimsical and harrowing, a miniaturist's charmingly detailed fantasy sketched inside a mausoleum ... Through depths and depths and bloodwarm depths we fall, until the surface is only an eerie gleam high above, nearly forgotten; and the deeper we sink, the deeper we want to go

Donna Tartt

An amazing writer

Neil Gaiman

The world of Shirley Jackson is eerie and unforgettable ... She is a true master

A. M. Homes

A masterpiece of Gothic suspense

Joyce Carol Oates

For me, it is that unique and dreamlike book ... that stands as her masterpiece

Jonathan Lethem

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is Jackson's masterpiece ... Stunning

Elaine Showalter

Manages the ironic miracle of convincing the reader that a house inhabited by a lunatic, a poisoner, and a pyromaniac is a world more rich in sympathy, love and subtlety than the world outside


A witch's brew of eerie power and startling novelty

The New York Times

A marvellous elucidation of life ... a story full of craft and full of mystery

The New York Times Book Review

So eerie, so disturbing, and not a wasted word, it has the kind of economy I wish I knew how to achieve

Jonathan Coe

This novel brings back all my faith in terror and death. I can say no higher of it and her

Dorothy Parker, Esquire

Related titles