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Or so she believes. But at last the magic fails. A stranger arrives--cousin Charles, with his eye on the Blackwood fortune. He disturbs the sisters' careful habits, installing himself at the head of the family table, unearthing Merricat's treasures, talking privately to Constance about "normal lives" and "boy friends." Unable to drive him away by either polite or occult means, Merricat adopts more desperate methods. The result is crisis and tragedy, the revelation of a terrible secret, the convergence of the villagers upon the house, and a spectacular unleashing of collective spite.
The sisters are propelled further into seclusion and solipsism, abandoning "time and the orderly pattern of our old days" in favor of an ever-narrowing circuit of ritual and shadow. They have themselves become talismans, to be alternately demonized and propitiated, darkly, with gifts. 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. "Poor strangers," says Merricat contentedly at last, studying trespassers from the darkness behind the barricaded Blackwood windows. "They have so much to be afraid of." --Sarah Waters
18-year-old Mary Katherine Blackwood—Merricat for short—narrates this unsettling tale of isolation, neuroses, and dark comedy. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Scott
Shirley Jackson is a hidden gem of a writer. You may know her from her short story, "The Lottery". This is lusciously dark, gothic, Hitchcockian tongue-in-cheek horror. Read morePublished 16 days ago by J
This is a strange story full of strange characters who do strange things. I grew to care about and sympathize with Constance and Merricat, even if I never completely understood... Read morePublished 17 days ago by S. Honeycutt
Seriously, very very chilling. The intimate portrait of a paranoid, obsessive girl, who seems blissfully unaware of the consequences of her actions. Not for the faint of heartPublished 24 days ago by happycamper
I decided to read this after seeing it on a best of list. It's not the best I have ever read, but it's good nonetheless. The writing is superb! The story itself is odd and layered. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Leanne
A total pointless piece of ......
Not recommended to anyone by way of respecting the time that could be spent reading something worth reading not this weird, meaningless... Read more
I ordered this book for a class, anticipating that I would be bored and left wanting. How wrong was I? Very! This book was absolutely amazing! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kaylee
A very intriguing cast of characters! Shirley Jackson does a fantastic job of letting you in a little bit at a time, making you want to read more. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MaryBeth H.