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Rebecca is a novel by Daphne du Maurier, a British author, I first came across with 2 years ago. I read the original version of this novel and despite the fact that it was complicatedly organized and had a great amount of new vocabulary , a lot of descriptions it left enormous impression upon me and I began to work at the project, dedicated to the problems, raised in the novel. Impressed on I also read a Russian version but still the first feelings overfilled me. I consider that it is worth reading at any step of life and appeals to the audience that is fond of reading classic novels full of mystery.
“Rebecca” was published by Victor Gollancz in April 1938, after what Maurier’s popularity raised immediately. She started to write it in 1937, when her husband, Tommy had been posted abroad as a commanding officer and she had left her two little girls in England. This separation from her dearest home Cornwall must have caused Daphne to turn her thoughts to writing a novel set in that area. The book was completed when Tommy was posted back and the family were reunited.
In the Christian Science Monitor Rebecca was reviewed for the American public, was said to receive fabulous reviews in England, read almost like advertising copy. But than it was said that it would be absurd to make a fuss about that novel, which would be here today and gone tomorrow like the rest of publicity’s masterpieces.
In this report I would like to give my own impressions on the book and can dare to say how wrong that person was because Rebecca became the most successful of all Daphne du Maurier’s novels with a number of attempts to write sequels to. It inspired lots of people (various stage plays, music compositions, three additional books) and is still the one that she is best remembered for.
During her childhood Daphne du Maurier had to stay at 2 huge houses hidden away down a long driveway, with numerous staff and mysterious atmosphere. It was a combination of these very houses that became Manderley, the house at the heart of Daphne du Maurier’s novel.
The story centered around the isolated estate of Manderley with the main character of a young woman who rapidly married Maxim de Winter, a recent widower who appeared to be struggling to get over the unpredicted death of his wife, Rebecca. Only upon their arrival at Manderley did the new bride understand how difficult it would be to forget the memory of Rebecca that had a stable possession on all of its inhabitants, visitors, the whole estate. Maxim could hardly bear to mention Rebecca’s name and afterwards he told her, he had never loved her and they lived a lie. So, when eventually the situation had become intolerable he shot Rebecca, carried her body out to the boat out to sea and sank it.
On an inquest attended by the local Justice of the Peace related to this death eventually a verdict of suicide was given. Later on, the new de Winter family set off on the journey home to Cornwall. Approaching to Manderley they see the sky lighting up like the first rays of sunrise, little by little stretching across the sky. But this was not the sunrise. It was flames. Manderley was burning.
While reading the book I found a rather interesting aspect: the given name of the second Mrs. de Winter is never mentioned in the novel. To my mind, it proved to be a very effective way to make the character appear a minor person than Rebecca: less confident, talented and less attractive to Maxim.
From my point of view, it is a little bit spooky, but enchanting, made persuasively, captivating from the very beginning to the end. Through the whole novel the author could make us feel how powerfully Rebecca’s presence is in and around Manderley even though she has been dead for over a year. Rebecca’s ghost hides in the shadows and hovers in the minds of all the characters, entwined in the corridors of Manderley. Through the whole book I was kept in suspend and could feel the same. I did like the structure of the novel: as it progresses, the secrets of the house and its former mistress are revealed.
There is no doubt that the book is still very popular and moving it to the stage is even very complex because of a great amount of effects. Moreover, I found out that the musical is arriving on Broadway by 2010.
But while reading the book I noted some similarities in the content with “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, but we can’t compare the writing styles of these two great authors as each of them is unique.
“Rebecca” is believed to be one of Daphne du Maurier best works and it is true that it has also been described as the first major gothic romance in the 20th century. In conclusion I would like to say that I was absorbed as the reader in this dark tale of love and hate. Moody, beautifully atmospheric and filled with tension, I consider du Maurier’s having a magnificent writing talent, especially in describing things in the way she does. That makes her outstanding. I consider it to be one of those must-read novels and can highly recommend it for classic literature lovers, especially for any mystery fan.
There is no doubt that an interest in this work will continue on coming for a long time, making its contribution to literature , as the story still does leave one with lots of unanswered questions , giving you a chance to learn a secret.
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