amelia_petkova: (Default)
[personal profile] amelia_petkova
I have had this book on my To Read list for years and I finally borrowed it from the library. Shirley Jackson is the master of slow-reveal, creeping horror and I LOVE IT. The only other works of hers I've read so far are "The Lottery" and "The Haunting of Hill House."

I knew absolutely nothing about it going in, and I think that's the best way to go because it made even the beginning reveals a surprise. I'm only four chapters in and I want to make some notes on my observations and predictions before I get too farther in. Spoilers for only the beginning of the novel at this point

At the beginning, Merricat (Mary Katherine) says that all of her family besides her sister Constance is dead. Soon she starts mentioning Uncle Julian and talking about him in the present tense, which made me think that Uncle Julian was dead and they were carting his body around the house and interacting with him as though he were alive.

In the very first paragraph Merricat says that one of the things she loves in the death cap mushroom, and a chapter or so later I think the narration says that Constance won't let Merricat pick mushrooms. Plot point?

I had absolutely zero idea why everybody in the village hates Merricat and her family. Then it turns out that the rest of her family (parents, Uncle Julian's wife, and younger brother) all died from being poisoned by arsenic and Constance was put on trial and acquitted but everyone still thinks she did it. I LOVE THIS.

Only two people in the family didn't eat the sugar-poisoned arsenic: Constance, who didn't want any for her blackberries, and Merricat, who had misbehaved earlier in the day and was sent to bed without supper. Prediction: Merricat totally poisoned everybody and Constance took the fall for her.

I love, love, love the tea party scene in which the family friend keeps becoming more and more uncomfortable while her friend, Mrs. Wright completely gives in to curiosity and quizzes Uncle Julian on how everything went down the night of the poisoning and mass death.

There is a surprise cousin named Charles. This can't possibly end well. No unknown relative appearing unannounced in a suspense/horror story is ever good news, especially when his first words to Merricat (after saying "hello) are, "Got a kiss for your cousin Charles?" Somebody's gonna die.

Something horrible is definitely going to happen in the book and I can't wait to find out how it all goes down.
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