Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday's Forgotten Books: Friday, December 28, 2012

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE. -This is an amazing novel on my second reading, decades after my first. Its characters are few, they are pretty much nailed to one spot, and not much action takes places. Its high quality depends on Jackson's ability to create characters that speak and act like real people despite being essentially ghosts. You can easily see the mind that created both THE LOTTERY and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE in this novel. It was her last novel, written in 1962, three years after HILL HOUSE.

The Blackwood family lost four of its members six years earlier. Since then Mary Katherine, a teenager, her older sister Charlotte and the elderly and ill Uncle Julian haven't strayed farther than the country store. Uncle Julian lives completely in the past, reliving a specific day in time. Charlotte spends her time cooking, canning and hiding. And Mary Katherine (Merricat) dreams and devises spells to protect them. The townspeople thinkCharlotte got away with murder and Merricat's trips into town incite their rage and amusement at the Blackwood's fate. When Cousin Charles comes to stay with them, he sets events into motion that send the family even farther into isolation. He is a villain you can really hate.

The writing in this novel is sublime. Jackson creates a world that is both seductive and frightening. I read this as a teenager but I think it takes an adult to appreciate what strong characters Jackson created.
Jackson died at age 48. What a loss. I can only imagine the novels she might have written if she had lived longer.

Todd Mason will collect the links next Friday. 

Sergio Angelini 
Joe Barone ,
Les Blatt,
Bill Crider,
Scott Cupp,
Martin Edwards,
Elizabeth Foxwell
Jerry House
Randy Johnson,
George Kelley,
Margot Kinberg, 
Rob Kitchin
B.V. Lawson,
Evan Lewis,
Steve Lewis,
Todd Mason,
J.F. Norris,
James Reasoner,
Richard Robinson
Ron Scheer,
Michael Slind, 
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang
Prashant Trikannad ,


Kevin R. Tipple said...

Around 1 am Barry went up on my blog today with his review of THE MURDER BOOK. The link was/is:

Jerry House said...

Mine's up: Shadows in the Sun by Chad Oliver.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Jackson was a terrific writter Patti - thank for the reminder as it's been much too long since I picked up THE LOTTERY. Just updated by post (as I thought Todd was hosting this week's - apologies). Thanks for hosting and happy new year.

Gerard Saylor said...

I have a whole lot of nothing for today. I will have a post next week.

Charles Gramlich said...

I liked it quite a lot, though not nearly as much as Hill House. But her writing was so wonderful.

Jerry House said...

I think I've mentioned this before, but Jackson's story "Charles" when incorporated in one of her family memoirs (LIFE AMONG THE SAVAGES or RAISING DEMONS, don't remember which) was laughoutloud funny. When included in her collection THE LOTTERY, the same story was bone-chillingly frightening. Now, that's talent!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love, love, love the stories about raising her family. She was wonderful.

J F Norris said...

Thanks for re-running mine from last week, Patti. I am currently so caught up in reading THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD I completely forgot about FFB this week.

Anonymous said...

It was the first, LIFE AMONG THE SAVAGES, Jerry. I recently (well, a couple of years ago) picked up copies of both of her memoirs for rereading.

Jeff M.