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The Glass-Blowers (VMC) Paperback – June 3, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: VMC (Book 371)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Virago Press Ltd (June 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184408065X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844080656
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Three cheers for a novelist who can write convincingly of human relationships and the horrors of civil war' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

About the Author

Daphne du Maurier was born in 1906 and educated at home and in Paris. She began writing in 1928, and many of her bestselling novels were set in Cornwall, where she lived for most of her life. She was made a DBE in 1969 and died in 1989.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Daphne du Maurier has written a very moving, fictionalised account of her family during the time of the French Revolution. The historical detail is fascinating, and the family relationships are marvelously done. You can "hear" the voices of the characters, smell the smoke from the glass house and from the guns in war, feel the pain of loss, and the bittersweet quality of victory and reunion. This book should be required reading for studies of both the French Revolution and human nature
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Misfit VINE VOICE on March 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
In this book du Maurier recounts the tale of her forebears, the Busson family of master glass-blowers leading up to and through the French Revolution. Told through the POV of Sophie as she looks back on her life, daughter of master glass-blower Mathurin Busson and his formidable (in a good way) wife Magdaleine and her siblings Robert, Pierre, Michel and Edmé. For Robert, the eldest working his craft in the countryside is not enough and he dreams of greatness in Paris - but unable to manage his spending he always ends up in financial disaster and bankruptcy and he depends on his family to bail him out time and again.

The countryside where the Busson family lives is not greatly affected by the first stirrings of the revolution in the cities, but that soon changes when Michel and Sophie's husband Francois become National Guardsman and find themselves slowly being caught up in the nationalist fervor sweeping the country. At first Sophie is horrified at the behavior of her brother and husband as they join others in sacking the manor houses and churches -

"The people were mad. They had to have a victim. No single one of them was to blame, it was like a fever sweeping them."

Eventually she too finds herself buying into the revolutionary ideals as the madness continues to grow and suspicion and rumor grip the countryside. In the end a new and "stable" government takes control but it is never enough. Eventually Sophie and her family are swept up in the War in the Vendée, a little known but horrific footnote in history (do go to Wik and read up on it).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Daphne du Maurier wrote this novel as a fictionalized history of her own forebears. As best I can tell, the famous author is a descendant of Robert Busson, who added the "du Maurier" to the end of his name as part of his aristocratic pretensions. The Bussons were a two generation family of glass blowers in France, who were master craftsmen, but no aristocrats. Simply stated, Robert was a gambler, a risk taker who threw everything into his quest for prestige. He spent time in prison because of bad debts, emigrated to England to escape his creditors, and abandoned his children from two marriages. When the side he supported failed, he merely turned his coat. All of this took place in the era of the French Revolution, and while the book contains scenes of local riots and insurrections, of starvation and murder, The Glassblowers lacks the tension so characteristic of Rebecca and some of her other fine works.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Kinnard on September 9, 2006
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My first taste of Daphne Du Maurier was Rebecca. I loved it so much that I had to read more of her. I have always been a fan of drama set in real historical times, so I was drawn to this story that spans three generations of a french family living before, during and after the French Revolution. To make it more inviting, it is based on Daphne's own ancestors.

The trade that binds the family is glassblowing - a process that involves heating glass and blowing the melted medium into goblets and bottles and such. But the story is not about the glassblowing. It is about living and working and giving birth and dying during the years before, during and after the French Revolution.

Du Maurier blows so much life and heart and feeling into these characters that by the time the book ends, you feel like you're saying goodbye to a family that you have grown to know and love. One of my favorite books is Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth. I would put this book right up there with it. Not only do you watch the effect a tumultuous time in history has on a middle class family, you watch French society change through economic and political upheaval. And Du Maurier has characters placed in all the right places to watch the drama unfold.

This book comes with my highest recommendation. You had best snatch it up, because it appears to be out of print, and there are just a few copies available on Amazon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 22, 1997
Format: Hardcover
ONE OF THE FEW POSITIVE ACCOUNTS OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION I HAVE READ
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Format: Kindle Edition
Daphne du Maurier discovered that her French ancestors were not aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution, as she had been told, but rather bourgeois master glass blowers. This story depicts people who might be her ancestors during those times. While Robert, the prodigal son fled from France to England prior to the Revolution to avoid imprisonment for debt due to speculation, his siblings remained in France supporting the revolution. This book is well written, easy to read and keeps up the reader's interest throughout.
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More About the Author

Daphne du Maurier was born in 1906 and educated at home and in Paris. She began writing in 1928, and many of her bestselling novels were set in Cornwall, where she lived for most of her life. She was made a DBE in 1969 and died in 1989.

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