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Rebecca Paperback – September 5, 2006
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From Library Journal
Surely no audiobook collection should be without some version of this timeless classic, arguably the most famous and well-loved gothic novel of the 20th century, and this production would be an excellent choice. Read in wonderfully British cadences by Anna Massey, all the mysterious and oppressive nuances are made immediate and chilling. We even feel some sympathy for the absurdly timid and cowering heroine; it is, after all, easy to imagine feeling woefully inferior to the predecessor and desperately eager to please. Of course the story requires great leaps of credulity... Forget the movie; it makes mincemeat of the actual tale. A wise seven-year-old once told me, "The book is always betterDit goes right into your head." This is a prime exampleDlisten again; it gets even better. Highly recommended.DHarriet Edwards, East Meadow P.L., NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of the most influential novels of the twentieth century, Rebecca has woven its way into the fabric of our culture with all the troubling power of myth or dream. A stunning book -- Sarah Waters Addictive and breathtaking. Its blending of melodrama and subtlety is ingenious. The Cornish setting never quite leaves the imagination Independent Possibly the best crime novel ever written. Right from page one you are gripped by a palpable sense of suspense -- Hilary Bonner Express With one of the most evocative first lines ever, Daphne du Maurier's fifth novel has everything a reader could ask for ... Psychologically astute and disturbingly romantic, Rebecca was an immediate bestseller on publication in 1938 and has cast a sinister spell ever since Marie Claire I am reminded of how profoundly du Maurier changed the way I felt about myself, how she engaged and excited me with her writing. Julie Myerson A brilliantly constructed novel - the ultimate in psychological suspense, instantly gripping and haunting, Rebecca will stay with you for ever. --The DAILY TELEGRAPH --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Daphne du Maurier is my favorite author. I have read every book of hers that I can find - a difficult task since many are out of print and must be found in used books stores. Once in Seattle, I found four of her books - two were hard bound. I have 14 of the 19 I am seeking. My other favorites are My Cousin Rachel, Frenchman's Creek, The King's General, Hungry Hill, and Jamaica Inn. Many of her books were made into movies. Rebecca won the Academy Award for best picture in 1949. The Birds was based on one of her short stories. My Cousin Rachel was Richard Burton's first movie, which he earned $50,000.
du Maurier's books are dark and full of mystery. Many characters are greedy, vengeful, lustful, jealous and destructive in their relationships - Mrs. Danvers the prime example. I won't bother explaining the plot as you can find detailed descriptions all over the internet. I have read it four times and I highly recommend this book. Visit Daphne's official website: www.unmarried.org for information.
All this aside, the book isn't for everyone. If you're not already a fan, this checklist may help you decide whether or not to add Rebecca to your own secret treat shelf:
1. Do you like gothic fiction?
Although it was first published in 1938, Rebecca ages exquisitely and i's not hard for a modern reader to fall deeply in love with it. The style and turns of phrase are no barrier--it's the genre itself that will either draw you in or leave you cold. I loved Jane Eyre as a child, and this love abetted my love of Rebecca, which is famously derivative of Jane Eyre's general plot: woman falls in love with a man haunted in mysterious ways by his former wife. If the idea of women wandering windswept grounds of great houses, plagued by mysterious barriers to love, sometimes in the form of the ghost (literal or figurative) of another woman sounds cozy to you, if you loved Catherine and Heathcliff or Darcy and Elizabeth, and you fancy dark psychological acrobatics, give Rebecca a shot.
2. Does a warm bath, a hot drink, and a new sweater sound good to you right now?
Rebecca is a fall read, hands down. It's rainy, it's morose, it's the dominating presence of a grand old mansion in a remote location.
3. Have you seen the movie Rebecca (1940), did you like it, do you like old movies at all?
The movie does not follow the plot exactly, but having loved the movie for a long time and now having read the book, the tone of the movie feels authentic and true to the novel. Once every few years, I go on an autumn binge and watch The Uninvited (1944), Vertigo (1958), Rebecca, and to end on a lighter note, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947).
4. Are you a feminist?
Old fashioned gender roles in Rebecca's setting will definitely irk some readers. As a feminist, I was less annoyed than interested. The mirroring of the protagonist (shy, inexperienced, subservient) and the dead Rebecca (domineering, brave, selfish, accomplished) added a great sociological layer to the experience of reading. Sally Beauman's excellent Afterword offers a wonderful explanation of the gendered forces at work in Rebecca, and also addresses several misinterpretations of the novel at the time of its publication.
If you've answered yes to any of the questions above, I absolutely recommend that you read the first 30 pages at least. Get past the description of Manderly in the dream, and begin to read about when the protagonist first meets widower Maxim de Winter, and if you're liking it by then, you'll love the rest.
Du Maurier is still one very fine writer.I have almost every book she ever had published.
Her plotting is great, the atmosphere is terrifically suspenseful, & every chapter is fascinating.Her characters are very, very well drawn.
I read it the 1st time when I was maybe 13, (a looong time ago,oh my, yes), never forgot it, watched the movie, & still think the opening paragraph is probably among the finest ever written! (Still tied for 1st place with Shirley Jacksons' Hill House, in fact.)
I do wish she had at least given her young, yes,sometimes wimpy heroine a name; after all, Maxim gets a great name, so does that witch Danvers, but that's just being picky, picky....
It's still just a great story.
Sure does stand the test of time for this reader!
Well I never did even after rereading it so many years later. It is still a marvel of suspense page after page. The innocent girl who meets and marries the widower who has been the subject of gossip after the disappearance and death of his beautiful wife, is taken to Manderley, her new husband's estate. She is given very little to go on, either with the servants or about the former wife. And thereby hangs the tale. It's a page-turner of the first class.
I'm the culture maven in our house,--reading-- we've done Harry Potter, Nancy Drew; now it's time for Poiret's" little grey cells" to get more of a workout.Plus the ballet, theater, museums and travel.