Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Pages: 376
Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 1938

Synopsis (From Inside Cover):

Set at the great Cornwall estate of Manderley, one of the most famous country houses in England, the story has an immediate urgency, a brilliantly created atmosphere of suspense. As the novel opens, Manderley's glamours mistress, Rebecca, has been dead for eight months - drowned in a tragic sailing accident. But her legacy lives on, especially in the mind of Maxim de Winter's young and frightened second wife. Through her eyes we come to know Rebecca, from the tall and sloping R with which she signed her name, to the way she meticulously organized the magnificent annual costume ball that was attended by the whole countryside.

Du Maurier's tale is deeply moving, weaving together the lives of her superbly drawn characters to create an atmosphere that alternates between the doom of impending disaster and the ecstasy of an exquisite love story, and delving deeply into the inner working of the minds of men and women to create this unforgettable drama.

I have heard many great things about Du Maurier's Rebecca, all the reviews that I have read have been great. I think that I am suffering from a case of high expectations. I just felt that Rebecca was okay. Not a bad novel but not a great one either.

The writing was overall superb. I really had no problem with Du Maurier's writing style. The novel is done through first person. The female narrator goes unnamed, which allows for a little bit of mystery. I thought that the writing was very fluid. The author (or narrator in this case) was very good at giving just the right amount of detail. I was able to see the scenes that where describe in my mind, without her going into great detail.

The characters were okay. As stated before the main female character, our narrator, is never given a name. Non of the main characters ever say her first name and she never gives it to the reader. That leads to some interesting consequences. For me it lead me to give her a name, Margret. I don't know where that name came from but I could have swore that Du Maurier had mentioned it somewhere in the beginning. It also allows for her character to come out more. The other characters were interesting. Maxim de Winter was a mystery until almost a third of the way through the book. But most of the characters were, by the end of the book we find out how most of them all fit together. I can't say that anyone character stood out to me. I just wasn't able to connect to any of them.

I did not feel any of the suspense or mystery that I heard other readers talk about. I could see where parts of the story were going before it actually got there. The main mystery was not really a shock to me, not because I had already guessed it, but it fit into the overall story. I sort of found the whole story rather dull. I kept finding myself putting the book down and doing other things. Not picking it up for days later and not really excited to return to it.

Pros: Writing, Description
Cons: Sort of Boring

Overall Recommendation:
This isn't one of those books that I would go out of my way to recommend. If someone asked me about it I would say that it was "okay" but if someone asked me for a book recommendation this book would not be one of them.

Round The World Passage: England (5 out of 18)
Library Challenge (13 out of 25)
1% Well Read (4 out of 12)

Other Reviews:

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1 comment:

  1. I am sorry that you didn't like the book. You should try the movie, it is one of my all time faves.