Tag Archives: Rebecca

A review of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Well, I’ve pored my way through the last hundred pages, the plot thickening as they went. I can’t help but think what a sad story it turned out to be. As the truth unfolds you can to see that each of the characters is caged in one way or another, whether it be by love, hatred, devotion, servitude, duty…everyone in the story seems to suffer from their own variety of entrapment.

I read with mixed feelings, not quite knowing whether or not I wanted the truth to come out, never coming to any definite conclusion about some of the story’s characters. It seems to me that the boundary between good and bad, right and wrong, truth and lie is blurred in this story. I don’t think I’ll ever quite decide who the real ‘baddie’ is. Each one of the characters seems to me to carry light and shade, there is no one to hold up as an example of morality; even the characters who don’t commit crimes themselves and who don’t utter hateful words stand by and knowingly let others do so. Nobody finishes with a clean conscience and nobody emerges unscathed or unscarred.

The story, as I mentioned yesterday, is well written and the plot drives the narrative well. The pace of the novel alters to fit the circumstances and never do we feel that events are passing us by or that the narrative is dwelling too long at any given moment. The characters are well drawn, and as the novel progresses we come to understand them better – their motivations, their nature, their hopes and fears. We never are told the narrator’s name, and I can’t quite make up my mind as to whether she earns the title of heroine. With the novel’s title being afforded to another character and, perhaps because she appears (to me, anyway) so weak, I don’t feel that she quite merits being called a heroine. Elizabeth Bennet, Bridget Jones, Woolf’s Orlando, even – these narrators strike me as heroines…I’m afraid I can’t say the same of the second Mrs de Winter.

That’s not to say, however, that I did not enjoy the book. I enjoyed it immensely. It’s gripping, intriguing, well written and exciting. Do I recommend it to you? Most definitely. Does it merit being held up as one of literature’s classics? Yes, I think it does.

Swiftly on to book number three…a more modern classic this time, The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under 20th century, Books, Daphne Du Maurier, Fiction, Novel

Exciting…continuing Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Only one hundred pages to go now. I got engrossed last night and stayed up horribly late reading, I’ve been shattered all day as a result, oops. I’m finding the book really gripping and the constant sensation that you are on the brink of something terrible never fails to keep you reading (even when it’s far past your bedtime).

I failed in my efforts of not becoming afraid of Mrs Danvers and, am happy to say she quite terrifies me. There aren’t enough scary women in classic novels. She reminds me of the typical Disney villain (and half of them are women) – demonstrating, from the outset, an inane and irrational hatred of the book’s heroine. At the point I’m at at the moment, her story’s not really been fully explained and I already have a plethora of theories about her, ranging from the wild to the ridiculous.

Nothing’s what it seems in this novel, from the characters themselves to the constantly unexpected plot. As a reader, you can’t help feeling that, as a result of the book’s narrator, it’s rather a case of the blind leading the blind. She (whose name has still not been revealed) is so young, innocent and meek that you find yourself clawing at the small snippets of information given to you (which go utterly misinterpreted by her) and wishing you could march in there and tell her to pull herself together. This, for me, has been the one disappointment of the book so far – to read, caged by the thoughts of such a weak and insipid narrator. So far, anyway, women have not been represented in the best light in the novel. They’re either evil, deranged, unfaithful, snobby, weak or clumsy – not the qualities one would choose to have one’s sex represented by.

Gender politics aside though, the book has really turned out to be a good read and I’m looking forward to sitting myself down with a cup of tea and devouring the last hundred pages…quite a turn-around when you consider Du Maurier’s still describing flowers by the vase-load whenever she can – but, I’m willing to put that aside for such a well written and exciting story. See, I’m getting wiser already and I’m only on book two.

2 Comments

Filed under 20th century, Books, Daphne Du Maurier, Fiction, Novel

Foreboding…reading Rebecca by Daphe Du Maurier.

Nearly a quarter of the way through now and I’m enjoying the book much more. There’s a real air of mystery about this novel, and not only regarding the house at  Manderley and the eponymous Rebecca, but also the book’s central character and narrator whose name we are not told. One has a sense that something dark, and perhaps unpleasant, is going to happen at any moment. You don’t feel as though you can trust your expectations of the novel – something in  the writing puts you ill at ease, as though in the next passage something dreadful might occur. The writing itself flows well and with an easy rhythm, Du Maurier uses some lovely turns of expression and displays the workings of her heroine’s mind so honestly that one can’t help understanding, and relating to, her. Although, and this device is clearly deliberate, one always feels a little held at arm’s length, not quite allowed to know the woman whose name is kept from us.

Many readers have compared the story to Jane Eyre and it’s hard not to make the comparison, even at such an early stage in the novel. I have to say, so far, I’m enjoying it far more (I am ashamed to say that Jane Eyre is a novel I tried, and failed, to read when I was a young teenager and have not had the courage to try again since).

Where Rebecca is concerned, suffice to say, I have been drawn in and am eager to keep reading and discover whether my sense of foreboding is justified. As for the formidable Mrs Danvers…already I’m determined not to be scared of her.

Leave a comment

Filed under 20th century, Books, Daphne Du Maurier, Fiction, Novel

Book lengthens, blog shortens. Must try harder, beginning Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

So…the dog ate my homework? I must have dropped it? No, there’s no excuse except to say that I have been a bit busy (and Comic Relief was on TV), but I have made a start on Rebecca.

I have to say, I found the opening a little less engrossing than Orlando – beginning, as it does, with an inordinate amount of description of plants (this, I feel, must be the reason that Alan Titchmarsh chose to be ambassador for the book during the BBC’s Big Read several years ago). I am not a fan of plants, in  fact, I am highly allergic to them. However, I have soldiered on and am glad to say that, by page twenty-six, things have improved dramatically.

So, after a shaky start, things are looking up…I promise, I will read more and quicker by tomorrow’s blog – thus, it should be a little longer (although, I hear some people prefer the shorter less serious blogs, hey Mum? The cheek).

Leave a comment

Filed under 20th century, Books, Daphne Du Maurier, Fiction, Novel