Terrifying women all around with this one — Shirley Jackson delivers every single time when it comes to sheer psychology-based horror; and so, for that matter, do her characters. You’re barely ten minutes into the story, and you’re already supremely uneasy — and boy, does this ever have a slow, peeling-away-layer-by-layer burn ending in a gigantic dynamite fuse. There’s no way to write about this book without instantly giving away spoilers, so I … just won’t, even though most people are probably already familiar with the story anyway. Truly masterful storytelling, in any event; truly unsettling social commentary and, in the audio version I own, also truly masterfully rendered by Bernadette Dunne. I started listening to this one night when I really should have gone to bed much earlier — and ended up finishing the complete audio in a single sitting; there was no way I could have stopped, even though ultimately it was solely due to my being crash-and-knocked-out tired from entirely unrelated RL exertions that I was able to sleep afterwards at all.
I don’t know how often I will actually revisit this book, but I do know that it, and the ladies in “the castle,” will stay with me forever.