Monday, November 03, 2008
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
You are a bad, bad influence. After reading your review of We Have Always Lived in the Castle I just had to go out and buy the book. And there I was in B&N faced with two versions. This cheaper one:
And this one, which cost a few dollars more:
I ended up with that second one (of course). Because isn't that the most spectacularly creepy cover? I fell in love with it on site. So you owe me two bucks.
You know, I don't normally go for books like this. But this year I felt compelled to read both this book and The Graveyard Book (have you read that one yet?). Both books are subtly creepy. Subtly creepy is good. I can handle creep in a subtle form. It's the books that creep me out to the point where I'm compelled to check the back seat of my car before I get in (even when it's kept in the garage) that I tend to avoid.
Of course, you know what the book's about. Two sisters...Merricat and Constance. They live in a big old house with their Uncle Julian, who isn't all there, either mentally or physically. The village has ostracized them. And something bad happened, although you don't find out what for awhile.
Jackson does a damn fine job of building the creepiness. Something odd is going on. Why won't Constance go to the village? Why is Uncle Julian so dotty? Why are all the villagers grey? Why is Merricat allowed to pour the milk but not handle knives (I mean really, she's 18, not 8)? And by the end, even though Jackson had tied up all the loose ends (except for the greyness, but I have my suspicions about that), I still felt the creepiness.
I think I need to re-read "The Lottery" (and what are you supposed to do with the title of short stories? Italics? Quotes?). I mean, I read it in high school (along with most of the nation), but all I remember is stones and that same creepy feeling I got from We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Have you read anything else by Jackson? Anything you'd like to recommend?
My only little quibble with the book is the title. While the syntax evokes Merricat, where's the freakin' castle? Last time I checked, it was a house. Although I guess We Have Always Lived in the House doesn't quite have the same ooomph.
Anyhoosie, thanks again for making me buy another book. B&N thanks you, too. Really, you should talk to them about a commission.
PS: You don't really owe me two bucks.