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.
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.