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Le bouc émissaire

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  2,624 ratings  ·  249 reviews
By chance, two men - one English, the other French - meet in a provincial railway station. Their physical resemblance is uncanny, and they spend the next few hours talking and drinking - until at last John, the Englishman, falls into a drunken stupour. It's to be his last carefree moment, for when he wakes, his French companion has stolen his identity and disappeared. So J ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 375 pages
Published May 28th 1998 by Phébus (first published 1957)
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Jean
Have you ever wanted to run away from your life? What would happen if you suddenly had the chance to; would you "grasp the nettle"? Or what if a new life was imposed on you, whether you liked it or not? Such is the premise of Daphne du Maurier's 1957 novel, The Scapegoat.

The Scapegoat is reminiscent of novels such as, "The Prisoner of Zenda" and according to one of Daphne du Maurier's biographers, this rollicking adventure was a favourite story of Daphne's when she was a little girl. But it also
...more
Judy
Aug 18, 2010 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: du Maurier fans; Rebecca is not the best book she wrote.

Scapegoat has an intriguing history as a word. Originally, in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, the High Priest confessed the sins of the people on the Day of Atonement over the head of a live goat which was then allowed to escape, taking the sins with it. From this religious tradition developed the meaning of a person, group or thing who takes the blame for the mistakes or crimes of others.

In Daphne du Maurier's excellent novel, an English history professor on his way home from holiday in
...more
Misfit
Two strangers, identical in appearance, a chance meeting and lives are forever changed. English John meets French Count Jean and share dinner and drinks as they discuss the remarkable likeness the two share. But Jean's financial problems drive him to render John unconscious, switch identities and leave him in his place to deal with his failing glass factory and fractious family. John soon finds himself in the midst of a mine-field dealing with a pregnant "wife", a couple of mistresses (one of th ...more
Jessica
An extraordinary novel by the incomparable Du Maurier. Most know the plot: an Englishman and scholar, bored with his life of detachment, is pushed to change identities with his doppelganger, Jean de Gue, and take on his life and famille in an aged Chateaux and glass-blowing factory in France. Exquisitely plotted, richly textured, Du Maurier's novel is fully convincing in its portrait of de Gue's adopted life and ways...until-- perhaps--the twists and turns of the ending. I'm still thinking about ...more
Laura
When a dissatisfied Englishman on holiday collides with someone in a railway station, he realizes he’s looking at his double — only his double is French. The next morning, the Englishman discovers his passport and papers have been replaced by the Frenchman’s, so he figures his best option is to assume the Frenchman’s identity. Navigating his new role as master of a chateau and head of a complicated family and family business is tricky enough for the Englishman, but adding to the suspense are his ...more
Tom
Up to its heavy-handed Christian closing, I was in love with this book. Du Maurier brilliantly, engrossingly, explores the haunting yet goofy idea of the doppleganger. The navigation of French culture, mistresses, children, dogs, another's life completely, comes to you mazelike in the narrative. And always, du Maurier twists the tension gleefully.
Duncan Wood
I would recommend this novel to anyone who thought Daphne du Maurier never wrote another decent book after My Cousin Rachel. All in all, The Scapegoat is strangely underlooked, a neglected gem. It's hard to see why this one gets forgotten, as the premise is intriguing, the plot gripping and du Maurier's grip on the narrative is masterful and never falters. I sometimes struggle, in her historical novels, to grasp the tangled family trees and the (sometimes) unpronounceable Cornish place names, bu ...more
Tina
Not As Good As The Movie

I started reading this after watching "The Scapegoat," a 2012 production by Charles Sturridge on Netflix and absolutely loving it. Then, after searching for it in various libraries without finding, I went out and bought it off amazon.

So if you are like me, and want to read the book because you liked the movie, I should warn you that the film is an adaptation and doesn't follow the book closely at all, especially not the ending. The major differences involve the love story
...more
Book Concierge
From the book jacket - Two men – one English, the other French – meet by chance in a provincial railway station and are astounded that they are so much alike that they could easily pass for each other. Over the course of a long evening, they talk and drink. It is not until he awakes the next day that John, the Englishman, realizes that he may have spoken too much. His French companion is gone, having stolen his identity. For his part, John has no choice but to take the Frenchman’s place – as mas ...more
Shirley
Once again, du Maurier has created a baffling world for us to enter alongside the main protagonist - a mystery to be solved, as the story gradually unfolds before us. Just as in "Rebecca", the second Mrs de Winter found it hard to step into Rebecca's shoes, so John struggles to second-guess what Jean would do or say. What I loved about this story was (view spoiler) ...more
Kavita
This book starts off in a very interesting manner. John, who is a lecturer in England, feels himself as a failure and wants to join a monastery. At the same time, there is Jean, who is the Comte de Gué, is running away from his myriad responsibilities. When Jean meets John, he drugs him and takes away everything that John owns, leaving his own things to him. Effectively, Jean leaves John with his own life. This leads to an interesting story where John becomes Jean and gradually takes over his li ...more
Laura
I would give 4 stars to this book. However, the plot is very unlikely even that is captivating story. A quite disappointing end, I was expecting a more dramatic one.
Katie

I greatly enjoyed The Scapegoat. The idea of doubles meeting and switching places is not new, especially with the English/French element to it. It requires a leap of faith to believe that these two men are so identical that they can fool everyone. They even have the same name - John and Jean.

The reader follows John as he wakes up to find Jean missing. He decides to go to the château and well blag it after realising it would be impossible to convince the police that he has had his identity stolen
...more
Lauren DeStefano
Stumbled upon this by chance and I'm so glad I did. If you're looking for something to hold you over until the next season of Downton Abbey, here it is.
Kath


A great page turner, most enjoyable. I didn't like the ending but at least it wasn't predictable.
harryknuckles
What would you do if you came face to face with yourself?

Two men, one a rather shabby French aristocrat called Jean, and the other a down-at-heel English teacher of French history called John, meet by chance in France. John longs for a life so different to his own; Jean has all the ties and responsibilities John has never known; a crumbling family business, a sick mother, a dependent wife and child, and a reputation.

John and Jean also happen to be identical. Wishing to escape the tangled mess
...more
Thomas Acland
At the end of just about every chapter of this book I had one of the following two thoughts, either "no no no no no ... please don't do that" or "oh dear, what have you done now".
The plot of the book is centred about the idea of there being two people who look and sound identical, to the point that not even their own mothers would be able to tell the difference. These two men, one an Englishman called John and the other a french nobleman by the name of Jean de Gue then swap identities and durin
...more
Lynn
This book blew my mind. I had no idea what to expect at first. Then, when the narrator meets his doppelganger and changes places, I was disappointed. That seemed such a silly device, and I'm always annoyed by supernatural stuff. However, this set-up produced a very interesting effect from that point on. The narrator goes home to this other man's house, and tries to act natural, but he knows nothing about his life. This puts the narrator in the same position as the reader, with all the characters ...more
Al
One of Daphne duMaurier's lesser-known, but very well done, books, The Scapegoat is the story of a man, John, who is thrust into the life of his double, whom he stumbles upon in a small city in France. In a forced exchange of identities, John joins his double's complicated and troubled family. One of the book's few flaws is the necessity that the reader believe that John could really pull off this deception successfully. Once one decides to suspend disbelief on that point, the story is gripping ...more
Lorna
They say that everyone has a double.
John finds his in a train station buffet bar while on a trip to France. It's like looking in a mirror. his doule's n is Jean De Gue. It's a surreal experience and the only way of dealing with it is for them both to get blindingly drunk. John awakes in the morning to find himself alone in a hotel room, his clothes, his wallet, all his possessions gone and in thier place he finds those of Jean De Gue. His identity has been stolen and it seems his only option is
...more
Linda
Sep 06, 2008 Linda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Very patient readers
Shelves: historicals
I had a rough time getting through this book. It's about two strangers who look alike and agree to trade lives. I remember seeing the movie with my parents when I was young, and my dad saying, "This is the most boring movie I've ever seen. I'm never going to see another English movie the rest of my life." Though the book does get better toward the end, I must say I agree with my dad on this one.
Sid Frost
This is the story of what happens when two men who happen to look and sound alike trade places. One is unhappy with his life primarily due to loneliness and is seriously considering joining a monastery. The other is unhappy because he is smothered from caring for others. The situations of the men made the lonely one depressed while causing the other to be bitter and to strike back at those he loved.

British writer Daphne du Maurier, who lived from 1907 to 1989, wrote novels, short stories, plays,
...more
Nicki

The Scapegoat is the 1957 novel by Daphne du Maurier. The story centers around two strangers who are identical in appearance but have starkly contrasting lives.

John is a lonely professor with what he considers to be an empty life – no family and no deep seeded connections to root him down. Jean, on the other hand has a very full life with all of the obligations and demands of a big family, an expensive estate, and a failing family glass business. Jean is weary of bearing his burden and wants to
...more
Claudia
Stunning, sophisticated, well detailed, incredibly old-fashioned, fast-paced story about how one's life can be turned upside down in just one second. This book will tell you how short life actually is, but at the same time it's also too long. This book is packed with brutal grief, anger, forgiveness, betrayal, love and learning of how to embrace everything in your life.

This book starts with John, a depressed british man that hates everything in his life. He wasn't meant to be on this earth, bas
...more
Literary Relish
I snapped up a practically brand new copy of Du Maurier's The Scapegoat whilst staying with family over Christmas and I just can't stress how much I loved this brilliant book; the story completely surprised and bowled me over and you must all go out and buy it right now! But...what is it about? **Warning** I'm going to be very sparing on the details here..

'John' is a pretty dull English university lecturer, travelling back home to England through the village of Le Mans following a brief sojourn
...more
Helen
What would you do if you came face to face with yourself? That's what happens to John, an Englishman on holiday in France, when he meets his exact double - a Frenchman called Jean de Gue. John agrees to go for a drink with Jean but falls into a drunken stupor and wakes up in a hotel room to find that Jean has disappeared, taking John's clothes and identity documents with him!

When Jean's chauffeur arrives at the hotel, John is unable to convince him of what has happened - and ends up accompanying
...more
Bonnie
I recently watched the 2012 BBC production of "The Scapegoat" based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier which I had not read or heard of. It was well acted and entertaining but it made me wonder how closely it followed the original book. The set up is pretty similar but the endings could not be more different. I recommend both movie and book. In "The Scapegoat", Daphne Du Maurier manages to make an implausible melodrama plausible and she draws the reader in with a tense narration that is full of m ...more
Catie
Actually the least impressive of the du Maurier novels I have read so far, which is still saying quite a bit. The plot was just a little meandering, which had my interest waning at times. One good thing about it, however, was its ability to allow the protagonist to observe family and personal interactions from a completely objective standpoint. This leads to the unveiling of the nature of man, which is really the goal of all thoughtful writing. It was a very creative set of circumstances for a n ...more
Margaret
A mix of mystery, psychology with an intermingling fantasy of the impossible but nonetheless, entertaining. I never mind a story that has some unbelievability in it as long as there is an interesting viewpoint or underlying message; this book definitely had some thought provoking themes. The Scapegoat, I feel is quite autobiographical to the core, in a book I hope to hear the author whispering their own voice, nature and feelings.
L.  (I hate fake reviews)
du Maurier revives a old literary trend in which two strangers bump into each other, discover they look totally alike (no explanations are ever given as to why) and for one reason or another these strangers exchange identities.

I usually like Daphne's stuff, but this book was a big disappointment for me. I couldn't stand any of the characters and the ending was really off. But what did it in for me was when something terrible happens to a relatively innocent character and no one cares. Not even t
...more
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  • The Long Dream
  • The Dead Secret
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  • Daphne
  • Green Dolphin Street
  • The Needle's Eye
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  • The Color of Night
  • The Selected Stories
  • Black Narcissus
  • The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction
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  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • High Wages
  • Love
  • This Real Night
  • The Shivering Sands
2001717
If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca, she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. Few writers have created more magical and mysterious places than Jamaica Inn and Manderley, buildings invested with a rich character that gives them a memorable life of their own.

In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles that of a fairy tale. Born int
...more
More about Daphne du Maurier...
Rebecca Jamaica Inn My Cousin Rachel Frenchman's Creek The House on the Strand

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“I could not ask for forgiveness for something I had not done. As scapegoat, I could only bear the fault.” 17 likes
“So you see, when war comes to one’s village, one’s doorstep, it isn’t tragic and impersonal any longer. It is just an excuse to vomit private hatred. That is why I am not a great patriot.” 13 likes
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