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We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
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We Have Always Lived in the Castle

$12.56

Retail price: $13.95

Discount: 9%

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Narrator Bernadette Dunne
Length 5 hours 32 minutes
Language English
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Shirley Jackson’s deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family takes readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, macabre humor, and gothic atmosphere.

Six years after four family members died suspiciously of arsenic poisoning, the three remaining Blackwoods—elder, agoraphobic sister Constance; wheelchair-bound Uncle Julian; and eighteen-year-old Mary Katherine, or, Merricat—live together in pleasant isolation. Merricat has developed an idiosyncratic system of rules and protective magic to guard the estate against intrusions from hostile villagers. But one day a stranger arrives—cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune—and manages to penetrate into their carefully shielded lives. Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods, resulting in crisis, tragedy, and the revelation of a terrible secret.

Jackson’s novel emerges less as a study in eccentricity and more—like some of her other fictions—as a powerful critique of the anxious, ruthless processes involved in the maintenance of normalcy itself.

Shirley Jackson was born in California in 1916. When her short story, 'The Lottery', was first published in the New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent her hate mail; it has since become one of the most iconic American stories of all time. Her first novel, The Road Through the Wall, was published in the same year and was followed by Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, The Sundial, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, widely seen as her masterpiece. In addition to her dark, brilliant novels, she wrote lightly fictionalized magazine pieces about family life with her four children and her husband, the critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. Shirley Jackson died in 1965.

Bernadette Dunne has been honored to narrate the work of some of the finest fiction and nonfiction writers of our time, including Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, and Sandra Day O'Connor. The winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and a three-time Audie Award nominee, she has voiced countless bestsellers, including Memoirs of a Geisha, The Devil Wears Prada, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She studied at The Royal National Theater and lives in New York.

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Reviews

“A witch’s brew of eerie power and startling novelty.”

“In her art, as in her life, Shirley Jackson was an absolute original. She listened to her own voice, kept her own counsel, isolated herself from all intellectual and literary currents…She was unique.”

“I have always felt that some writers should be read and never reviewed. Their talent is haunting and oblique; their mastery of the craft seems complete…And now, Miss Jackson has made it even more difficult for a reviewer to seem pertinent; all he can do is bestow praise.”

“Bernadette Dunne, her voice all sweetness and smiles with only the slightest tinge of the sinister, gives a fully vocalized reading that enhances the increasing unsettling plot.”

“This story is a happy combination: a gripping listen matched to a narrator who delivers the story perfectly. While it’s not action packed, thrilling, tense, or any of those other adjectives usually applied to a mystery, one just cannot switch it off…It’s a compelling journey to the depths of the human soul, with an ethereal narration that almost defies description. Just listen.”

“Jackson’s novel emerges less as a study in eccentricity and more—like some of her other fictions—as a powerful critique of the anxious, ruthless processes involved in the maintenance of normality itself.”

“Bernadette Dunne’s reading is flawlessly paced and suspenseful. The voices she provides the cast of characters are spot on: precocious Merricat is haunted and increasingly desperate; Constance is doting but detached; Uncle Julian is both pleasantly dotty and utterly unnerving; and Charles is the conniving villain listeners will love to hate. A treat for fans of mystery and suspense.”

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