This is a truly magnificent work. It is a stunning book with sweeping prose which will carry the world away into the inciting world of Manderley. This...moreThis is a truly magnificent work. It is a stunning book with sweeping prose which will carry the world away into the inciting world of Manderley. This book is known for having one of the most famous opening lines, and the entire first chapter is hauntingly gripping and creates such a wonderfully vivid image within the readers mind. The writing of this book is true poetry.
I absolutely love the Gothic style which du Maurier applies in writing this book, making it such an enchanting story that could read without ever putting down as you become carried away within this vision of the past. There is something almost bittersweet about it all.
The story focuses around a young woman who is training to be a "companion" having no family of her own and little real experience in the world. When she fall hopelessly in love with Maxim de Winter, though older than her, she is taken in with his quiet charm as well as his interest in her and she soon finds herself taken up in a world so outside her own background as she is brought into the rich and high-society life of the famous Manderley. In fact Manderley would be just as fitting a title for this book as Rebecca is.
Though shortly after coming into Maxim's beloved home the narrator finds herself quickly encased into the life of Maixm's first wife Rebecca de Winter, beloved by all (or nearly all) who knew her. The memory of Rebecca haunts every corner of Manderley and the narrator (who remains nameless) begins to doubt herself when she imagines all the ways in which she fails to live up to Rebecca.
As the story progresses a shocking mystery about Rebecca begins to unravel itself. (less)
I thought that the concept of this book was rather intriguing and I loved the idea of it, and had been looking forward to reading it for some time, bu...moreI thought that the concept of this book was rather intriguing and I loved the idea of it, and had been looking forward to reading it for some time, but I found the book itself to be disappointing and did not live up to my expectations. I have to admit I find I am not a fan of Rhy's writing style, this is my second book of hers, the first being "Good Morning Midnight" and I find her way of writing often difficult to follow and it fails to really draw me into the story.
Her presentation of the character of Bertha I also felt to be lacking here. I did not feel she actually really flushed out the character that much or gave her much substance, and thus by the end of the book I do not feel that any more light was shined upon her character than in Jane Eyre.
I was really looking forward to reading this book initially. I have a couple other books by Toni Morison, and they sound like they could be quite inte...moreI was really looking forward to reading this book initially. I have a couple other books by Toni Morison, and they sound like they could be quite interesting, though I have not previously read anything by her, there was something about her which seemed to appeal to me, and I do have a general interest in African American literature. Plus I had heard good things about Beloved, and was intrigued by the fact that it was a ghost story.
I have to say that I ended up being a bit disappointed in the book. From the start of it I found it very difficult to really get into the story. It was written in a rather difficult to follow and understand style. On the one hand I can appreciate that Morison was using a rather unique narrative technique in her telling of the story. The best way I can describe it is that reading the book was almost like eavesdropping, through most of the book the reader was left feeling like an outsider just catching snippets of a conversation out of context so you cannot really place what is going on. Though the story was a 3rd person narrative it was told in bits of fragments and the reader was not really privy to any information that the characters did not divulge of. Because of this it moved back and forth often, without any warning from the past and present, so you never really knew just where you were in the reading and it was hard to keep track of, and characters were brought up with out any sort of introduction. The way in which new characters were entered into the story was like stepping right into the middle of a conversation, where no one fills you in on what you missed.
So through most of the story you are too busy being lost, and trying to grasp just what is happening and who is who to really actually become engulfed within the story. In a way it is like a big puzzle as finally in the last pages of the book all the missing pieces that were only hinted at in the previous portions of the story are explained and come together for the most part but then towards the end she just throws in this whole other strange element that I could not make much sense of.
It seems Morison intentionally likes to just keep her readers confused, and I do not find this particularly effective. In a way it kind of annoys me that it seems like she is trying to force the reader to read the book a 2nd time to gain a fuller understanding of it, as after you are filled in with the background provided in the end of the story, it would be a lot easier to read the beginning of it and one might get more out of it. But I am not in the least be inspired to want to read it again. I am just glad to be done with it. (less)