We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Shirley Jackson

Illustrated by Angie Hoffmeister

Afterword by Donna Tartt

Let Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle cast a spell on you. With an afterword by Donna Tartt written exclusively for this illustrated Folio Society edition.

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‘Shirley Jackson’s stories are among the most terrifying ever written.’
  1. Donna Tartt

‘Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea? Oh no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.’ Deeply unsettling, subversive and wickedly funny, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is widely regarded as Shirley Jackson’s masterpiece – a dark gem in a career of sinister treasures. Artist Angie Hoffmeister worked on The Haunting of Hill House and has returned to create a volume rich with atmosphere and ominous imagery, including an illustrated slipcase and a binding that introduces us to the Blackwood daughters. Legendary author Donna Tartt, one of the modern masters of American Gothic, has written an illuminating afterword exclusively for this edition, examining how Jackson’s empathy for outsiders and eccentric domestic life were the crucible for her remarkable works.

A limited edition of We Have Always Lived in the Castle is available here. 

Bound in printed and blocked textured paper

Set in Arno with Zachar display

200 pages

Frontispiece and 6 colour illustrations, including 2 double-page spreads

10 integrated tailpieces

Printed slipcase

8¾˝ x 5½˝

‘This novel brings back all my faith in terror and death. I can say no higher of it and her.’
  1. Dorothy Parker

Donna Tartt describes Jackson as ‘a genius who sprang up in full fire’, calling for greater appreciation of a writer whose voice was so unique her influence can be felt in every corner of the literary world, with authors such as Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates praising her books and stories as essential works. Merricat, the dark beating heart of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, is her most iconic character, brought to life in Hoffmeister’s deliciously eerie watercolours, across five colour illustrations and two double-page spreads.

‘Our house was a castle, turreted and open to the sky.’

Six years ago, the majority of the Blackwood family died agonising deaths in the middle of a lavish dinner, poisoned by a liberal dose of arsenic in their sugar. Now, the Blackwood daughters live a reclusive life with their invalid uncle. Constance cooks and cleans, never straying further than their garden, and ever-vigilant Merricat watches over their home, keeping the dreaded villagers out and prowling the borders with her cat, Jonas. For Merricat it is the perfect life, the only blemish on her existence the weekly trips to buy groceries from the people who despise her. But change is coming in the form of avaricious Cousin Charles, and Merricat will have to act to save her world, regardless of the destruction it will bring.

Shirley Jackson (1918–65) was one of the greatest American gothic writers of the 20th century – an heir to the tradition of Hawthorne and Poe. Jackson was brought up in California and educated in Syracuse, New York, where she met the man she would marry. The couple settled in North Bennington, Vermont, where Jackson spent the last 20 years of her life. Her career writing short stories was lucrative, and for some time she was highly regarded as the author of Life Among the Savages, a witty fictionalised memoir about life as a mother; but this work has now been eclipsed by Jackson’s reputation as the author of horror and ghost-story masterpieces such as the controversial short work ‘The Lottery’ and the novels The Haunting of Hill House (Folio 2022) and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Folio 2023).

Angie Hoffmeister (born in Quedlinburg, Germany, in 1989) is an illustrator and printmaker based in Düsseldorf, where she was educated at the Kunstakademie. She uses a range of media – including drypoint, pencil and watercolour – she has also illustrated a number of graphic novels.

Donna Tartt is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. After studying at the University of Mississippi, she moved to Bennington College, known for its courses in liberal arts, including writing. Her first novel, The Secret History (1992), went on to become a bestseller and her second novel, The Little Friend (2002), won the WH Smith Literary Award. The Goldfinch (2013) won many literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction in 2014.


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    Illustrated by Angie Hoffmeister


    The Folio Society presents a bewitching limited edition of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Illustrated by Angie Hoffmeister and with a brilliant new afterword by Donna Tartt, this edition is limited to just 500 copies and has been signed by both contributors.