Monday, February 14, 2011

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again..."

Wow.  Seriously wow.  What a great novel. "Winner of the Anthony Award for the best novel of the century", is well deserved.  Mrs. Danvers has to be one of the best antagonists in literary history.  What a scary, diabolical woman.  She is scarier than any current horror movie could ever be.  Having seen the movie prior to reading the novel, I knew what to expect but it still captivated me and drew me in.  Du Maurier's charming prose is wistful, suspenseful, haunting and to be cherished.  It's a novel to be savoured like a fine wine or meal, not like most of today's novels, that feel so rushed.  I can only assume because readers today don't appreciate fine storytelling.  In our fast food, fast internet, text messaging, Water for Elephants novel age, it seems we don't have the attention span to be drawn in to a real, engrossing story.  Du Maurier's well drawn out details and beautiful words paint the scenes vividly and the mind's blank canvas quickly fills with her imagery.  Having read the novel and watched Hitchcock's masterpiece only furthers his genius to me.  He made this beautiful novel into a beautiful film that just isn't seen these days.  Two classics and both the movie is a must see & the book is a must read.  I rate it ****.  Don't deprive yourself of this literary gem.

****DON'T READ THIS PART UNTIL AFTER YOU'VE READ THE NOVEL...****  Another extraordinary trait to the novel is the heroine has no name.  Daphne cleverly writes the entire novel in first person, never at one time giving us the 'new' Mrs. de Winter's first name.  I have to admit that it didn't even occur to me until I finished the book and read the Author's Notes; "I continue to receive letters from all over the world asking me what I based the story on, and the characters, and why did I never give the heroine a Christian name?"  As soon as I read that, I immediately flipped through the book, convinced I had read her first name somewhere!  But it was to no avail. Very cleverly done. I say not to read this part until after you've read the novel only b/c I would hate to ruin something like that for you, dear reader.  Instead of being pleasantly surprised you would be concentrating on finding the name that isn't there.


  1. Seriously thought you were going to do a blogpost about an Enya song....

  2. Thomas, that's entirely different blogpost... coming soon...