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The Scapegoat

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  5,843 ratings  ·  625 reviews
By chance, John and Jean--one English, the other French--meet in a provincial railway station. Their resemblance to each other is uncanny, and they spend the next few hours talking and drinking - until at last John falls into a drunken stupor. It's to be his last carefree moment, for when he wakes, Jean has stolen his identity and disappeared. So the Englishman steps into ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published December 17th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1957)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  5,843 ratings  ·  625 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thank You to the MANY readers who came before me: I'm no longer a virgin to author
"Daphne Du Mauier". Special thanks to Jean, Sara, and Candy.

Two English, "John"...( the narrator), the other French, "Jean de Gue", meet by chance one evening. It's like looking into a mirror: they look almost identical- other than the color of their eyes.

At the start of the novel, we learn that John- on holiday in France...
was a historian and gave lectures in England about his country and it's past.
My only complaint with reading a Daphne du Maurier novel is that every book I pick up for some time afterwards pales in comparison. The depth of the characterizations, the richly described settings, and the undercurrent of suspense throughout never fail to enthrall me. No less so with this one, The Scapegoat. I found myself once again under du Maurier’s spell.

John is an Englishman well-educated in everything French – the language, the history and the culture. He passes on all his knowledge as a
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-thriller
‘The SHADOW Knows...’
(with assorted Backstage Evil Cackles)
- WWII-Era Radio Show.

Back in the J.F.K. Era, my grandmother belonged to the Book-of-the- Month Club. Is that still around?

Anyway, one December she got a new book everybody was raving about back then - The Scapegoat.

The deal was, if you didn’t mail the book back in time, it was yours.

But - to her - it seemed the perfect Christmas gift for my young self! I never knew WHY until I finally
Bionic 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
Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-shelf3
4.5 stars

I have read several of Daphne Du Maurier's books and loved every single one. Rebecca is my favorite but this book came very close to it.
I will be reading more of her books.

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
Andrew Smith
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit to feeling a little nervous about taking on this book. Novels of 'a certain age’ really aren’t my thing, I seem to struggle with everything about them. If it's not the stilted or overblown language it is a plot that feels horribly tame and dated. If there’s a phobia attached to reading these books, then I have it. I’d never read a book by Daphne du Maurier before so I wasn’t sure quite which I'd get - the overblown or the stilted - but I was confident the plot would be asinine. And ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have ever read any of Daphne du Maurier’s novels, you will immediately recognize what I mean when I say the narrator here is another of her identity-free individuals. Like the new Mrs. De Winter in Rebecca or the tour guide brother in Flight of the Falcon, this narrator is a person without any sense of importance, sense of self or sense of his own value. He is so unloved and disconnected that he can assume another man’s life and involve himself immediately in the other man’s world to the ...more
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
No idea why this was showing as I had rated this book when I haven't even finished it.

Gee, I got so many likes when I was just having a whinge, I don't know why I'm bothering to write a review!

Well, I do know why. This is one of the best books I've read this year - it is definitely the best fiction that is not a reread.

I read it as a straight doppelganger story and still found it wonderfully complex - & du Maurier's skilled writing made me believe the unbelievable. But some of the
Aug 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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
debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister
Very clever and enjoyable! I am not sure what I can say about this that hasn't already been said in other reviews...but, I can tell you for certain that I loved it. So, I can add that to the others that truly enjoyed this novel. It was unexpected. It wasn't even what I thought it would be about when I had so many times passed it over for something else. I might not had read it had it not been for my reading group picking it as a buddy read and, well, I like to read with those gals.

The book has
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story! I read the second half in one go because I just couldn’t put it down. Oh what a tangled web..! This book had all the feels- sadness, hope, love, regret, redemption, transformation and loss. The ending was the right one but I railled against it. Once again I am in awe of Du Maurier’s skill. This story will sit with me for quite some time.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Connie G
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Someone jolted my elbow as I drank and said 'Je sous demande pardon," and as I moved to give him space he turned and stared at me and I at him, and I realized with a strange sense of shock and fear and nausea all combined, that his face and voice were known to me too well....I was looking at myself."

John, the narrator, is an Englishman who is an expert in French history and language. He's a lonely man without a family who is thinking of joining a monastery to find meaning in his life. His
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
One of the great joys of growing in Cornwall at the time I did was that Daphne Du Maurier’s books were everywhere; because she was a renowned author who was still living and writing at her much loved home on the Cornish coast. She was one of a small number of authors that my mother guided me towards when I progressed from the junior to the senior library. I don’t remember which book I read first, but I remember that I was captivated, and that I picked up another, and another, and another …. ...more
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.
Mar 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
The Scapegoat by Daphne DuMaurier hit me straight on, square between the eyes, eyebrows above hairline.

In the cabinet file drawers of my mind I had D DuMaurier filed under “read, mostly. Classic, so good in that classic way. Last reading in late teen years. Can’t remember anything specific except the name Rebecca.” Yep. Because of that if anyone had asked, I would have nodded and said, yep, done that already. Hell, no!!!! What a lie!

Late into the first chapter I was so irritated with the unnamed
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Someone jolted my elbow as I drank and said, 'Je vous demande pardon, ' and as I moved to give him space he turned and stared at me and I at him, and I realized, with a strange sense of shock and fear and nausea all combined, that his face and voice were known to me too well. 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 ...more
Nandakishore Varma
A story that starts off with a great promise of being a humdinger but ends in a whimper. An interesting psychological study based on literary doubles, nevertheless.
Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-lit
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
I can blame my fascination with doppelgangers on a memory. I was around eleven years old watching a crime show when I saw what I thought was a picture of me on a missing poster in the background. That brief glimpse was enough to cause my stomach to drop and to send my mind into a frenzy of what-ifs. There was nothing I could do to ease my mind because at that time you could only rewind if you had recorded it on VHS and the only research you could do was using the card catalog in the library. ...more
Sep 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Natalie Richards
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-book
Another winner from du Maurier!
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
4.5 stars
I planned to write a review, but instead I will simply post my comment made on LeAnne’s great review of another book.
Last night I finished The Scapegoat. As I was thinking about it , I realized that a major reason I liked it so (other than the wonderful writing) was that I never felt manipulated, emotionally or otherwise; no twists thrown in without reason, no overinflated social issues, no multiple overinflated social issues, nothing thrown in just for shock value. I could go on and on
This I think would have to be my favorite du Maurier novel to date. A marvelous writer. Loved the premise of the novel, the convoluted storyline and the way the relationships were portrayed. Was initially a bit disappointed with the ending but on reflection it was fitting.
A big "thank you" to the readers who gave me the "heads up" with this one.
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. This was a thought provoking read with lots of surprising twists! I was sad to see it end.
classic reverie
I really enjoy Daphne du Maurier novels she really gets at the dark/light side of human nature but then they are never truly black & white. This is my third novel of hers. This story is if two men, one is a Frenchman named Jean & the other an Englishman named John. They could be identical twins but they are not. Their personalities are like night & day. Jean has a family who everyone depends on him, where as John a historian of France has nobody. They meet while going separate ways ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Be careful what you wish for...

In The Key of the Tower by Gilbert Adair an Englishman and a Frenchman swapped cars, and mayhem ensued. In Daphne du Maurier's Scapegoat, a Frenchman and an Englishman swap identities, although it isn't exactly a mutual decision.

John, an Englishman, is a francophile and historian. He meticulously prepares his scholarly lectures for his students, but there is a certain detachment to what he does, He is unmarried and has no family ties. He spends much time in France
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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 a fairy tale. Born into a
“I could not ask for forgiveness for something I had not done. As scapegoat, I could only bear the fault.” 20 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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