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The Parasites

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,188 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
The backward glances at the careers of the young Delaneys reveal vistas of a vanishing Europe rich in colour and throbbing with old gaiety. The clash of the impulsive, artistic family with the calculating, aristocratic one is extremely well worked out. Above all, the three young Delaneys are characters one accepts as authentic.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 5th 2005 by Virago (first published 1949)
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Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, novels, 2012
i'm still thinking about this book three days later. it differs from other du maurier works in that there isn't anything gothic or spooky about it. the parasites is a novel of three siblings, two of whom are not related to each other by blood: maria, the daughter of a famous singer who marries an even more famous dancer who has a son named niall born in the same year as maria, and celia, the daughter the two artists come to have together. it is told mostly in flashback: the three siblings are ca ...more
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Dahphne du Maurier lesen?

Ich muss mit einem Geständnis beginnen: ich habe diese Autorin unterschätzt. Sie hat die Vorlagen für Hitchcocks DIE VÖGEL, JAMAICA INN und REBECCA geschrieben, und auch die Erzählung WENN DIE GONDELN TRAUER TRAGEN, die 1973 Vorlage zu einem erfolgreichen Film wurde. Es scheint, als sollte man sich ihrer, wenn überhaupt, vorzugsweise erinnern als Autorin von Romanen und Erzählungen, die durch großartige Verfilmungen bekannt wurden. Und eben das hieße, Daphne du Mauri
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Was it all illusion?

The Delaney siblings, nearing 40, are startled to
hear the husband of one call them "parasites." His
nasty liner isn't true. Maria (wife of a stuffed
shirt landowner) is a top actress in the West End.
The popular songs of her bro Niall have made him
rich & famous. The youngest Delaney, Celia, has spent
her life doing for family. All three are composites
of DdM.

She comes w a brand name : grandfather George wrote
"Trilby." Papa Gerald, a celebrated actor-producer, gave Tallulah her
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was not prepared for how fascinating and beautiful this novel is. Yes, Sketchbook and Maureen of Goodreads had recommended it, but I suppose I had Du Maurier's biographer (Margaret Forster) in my ear: there are three Du Maurier novels that remain masterpieces; this was not of them. In fact, checking now, I do not even find it in her index though I know it was mentioned, at least a couple of times, in her text.
Richly imagined, original in its execution, this is a novel as much about art, the l
Auch ich habe diese Autorin zu Beginn unterschätzt, je mehr ich von ihr lese, desto besser gefällt sie mir. Du Mauriers Sprachfabulierkunst und die kurze, knackige, aber dennoch tiefgründige prägnante Skizizierung von Figuren ist außerordentlich - bereits auf den ersten 15 Seiten bekommt man fast eine tiefe psychologische Einsicht in Ihre Protagonisten, die sich von Seite zu Seite immer tiefer - fast in die Abgründe der Seele bohrt.

Die Charaktäre und vor allem die Beziehungskonstellationen sind
Yasamin Seifaee
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, persian
اصلا انتظار نداشتم اینجوری تموم بشه! اصلا!
و خب تو شوکم الان...
از خط اول تا آخر با سه شخصیت ماریا، نیال و سیلیا خو گرفته بودم و واقعا انتظار چنین پایانی رو نداشتم. احساس کردم همه چیز درونم خالی شد :|
خود داستان جالب بود. از حال شروع میشه و از یه جایی به بعد میره تو گذشته و دوران بچگی این سه شخصیت و بعد دوباره به حال میومد و ...
واقعا جالب بود و دوست داشتم
تنها چیزی که اذیتم کرد ترجمه بود
کتابی و گفتاری با هم قاتی بود -_- اگه شما هم این نسخه قدیمی رو بخونید متوجه میشید :دی
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy underrated book, Batman! I actually liked this one quite a bit more than Rebecca and the only thing keeping it from being five stars was that I kept getting distracted by the weird choice for the book's narrator. This story followed the lives of three semi-related siblings, Niall, Maria, and Celia. All of them having at least one parent different from the other. The narrator appears to be either a conglomeration of all three siblings or an omnicient unnamed, unvoiced fourth sibling. A littl ...more
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
"Parasites affect their hosts by feeding upon their living tissues or cells, and the intensity of the effect upon the hosts ranges from the slightest local injury to complete destruction." The Encyclopedia Britannica (quoted from the book).

My, my, another highly ambiguous ending from Dame Du Maurier and I'm still scratching my head wondering what to make of it. The three Delaney siblings are Maria the actress, Niall the song-writer and Celia the only child parented by Maria's father and Niall's
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am really beginning to become a du Maurier fan. I find that her books are very easy to read, while still well written. There was nothing "spooky" about this story, as most of her other novels seem to have that common theme. The story revolves around three siblings who "feed off of each other" in a negative way throughout their lives. The story and the interaction between the characters really had me engrossed from the beginning. It might have been a five-star read for me, had the ending been b ...more
Rachael Eyre
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Filled with character stories and sordid affairs, this book had me riveted. I couldn't put it down. The only reason that I didn't give it five stars was I was highly disappointed in the end. It's not like one of those endings where it's not what you want, so you're disappointed - no, it just kind of trails off. I suppose du Maurier wants the reader to draw her own conclusions, and I always hate endings like that.

I loved how suggestive du Maurier could be without crossing the boundary into smut.
Jennifer Hughes
I have a hard time rating this book. It's not so much of a novel as a character study. In fact, I think most of these chapters could stand on their own as little character study short stories. This is not any kind of mystery or gothic book like Rebecca but rather just a kind of "day in the life" with lots of flashbacks. The slow pace, relationships focus, and tiny movements that represented or eventually developed into something large reminded me a bit of Edith Wharton.

The thing is, The Parasite
Jim Puskas
Jul 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike so many of du Maurier's novels, there's nothing gothic-romantic about this book, but there is a mystery, namely: Why would a writer capable of Rebecca, Frenchman's Creek, The Scapegoat and so many others take the trouble to write a whole book about the Delaneys? "Pappy" is so selfish that it never even occurs to him that he has destroyed his youngest daughter's life by insisting she remain his personal nursemaid. Maria is amoral, petty, manipulative, neglectful of her children. Niall is a ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
i liked the premise but the execution was kind of lacklustre. Like it had the element of ~things are dark but we are too posh and uptight and english to talk about it properly~ that Rebecca has but it was a lot less compelling? A little bit disappointing tbh
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars, fiction
Now that I've finished The Parasites, I'm interested in finding out how it was received back in 1949. Content-wise, at least, stepsibling incest and statutory rape are well-trodden literary grounds by now; however, du Maurier's subtlety--the way she creates the explanations in the gaps, the way she portrays the unspokenness of the "shocking" elements through vivid, suggestive details--was pretty neat.

This is the third book by du Maurier I've read this year, and I'm finding her work immensely ski
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Despite loving du Maurier, I had never heard of 'The Parasites' until I discovered it in a local second-hand book store. Despite not really having a clue what this novel was about, it really cemented my belief that sometimes reading a novel by a favourite author can be a really wonderful experience, and that is certainly true of my reading of this novel.

'The Parasites' begins with the Delaney siblings; Maria, Niall and Celia, being in Maria's marital home with her husband Charles. When he sudden
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, uk
I parassiti (The Parasites) è, credo, un'opera minore di Daphne du Maurier, che è nota ovviamente per il grande Rebecca. Dopo aver letto Rebecca e La cugina Rachele, ho trovato I parassiti molto diverso: non c'è un'ambientazione gotica o una persona misteriosa che potrebbe o meno essere un'abile assassina. Si tratta infatti di un'indagine psicologica e di una saga familiare insieme. I Delaney stanno trascorrendo una domenica piovosa in una magione di campagna. Sono Celia, Maria e Niall, non prop ...more
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this immediately after I had read Captivated with its description of the entanglements between The playwright J.M. Barrie, and the Du Maurier family so this gave the novel extra elements for me. Though the tone of the novel is classic Du Maurier laced with nostalgia and loss and the sense of time passing the plot is a departure from the high romantic tone of many of her other novels. In this novel she writes of a theatrical setting that would have been familiar to her as a child and uses ...more
Yuni Amir
For this novel, I'd put du Maurier in the same box as Waugh and Fitzgerald. But it wasn't enough to be in the same box as Shelley.

Her writing was exquisite and the character building was magical. However, I found the storyline a little bit dull. Every time I wanted to stop reading this novel, one of the characters will burst into series of riveting monologue and open interesting philosophical exploration; on allusion of God, intricate relationships between a Mother and her son, between a Father
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've rather shamefully never read any of Du Maurier's books aside from Rebecca so picked this up to rectify that!

I'm glad I did as I really enjoyed it. It seems Du Maurier is very good at writing about spoilt upper classes and that is effectively what this book is about. It takes place, in the most part, over the space of one day and the story unfolds in flashback. There's also a fantastic 'Weekend in the country' scene which made me laugh out loud. Worth reading for that alone.

The characters (
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not one of Du Maurier's most famous novels, but one of her very best, maybe because, for once, it's not a gothic mystery. Du Maurier's style isn't extraordinarily inventive, but it's very solid, accurate, and she has a gift for telling compelling stories with great characters. This novel about a family of artists and the complex ties that bind them all has more depth than one could expect and is the kind of book you want to read by a fire on a winter night.
Andrew Scaife
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure at first. This is very much a character study rather than straight forward narrative but crickey, once you get absorbed into their world and lifestyle it's compelling stuff. And like all du Maurier, has a great ending that left me contemplative and satisfied.
Mar 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story about dissipation, inappropriate family ties, and the perversity of the rich and famous. Salacious, but also genuinely literary and unsettling. Loved it.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
The backward glances at the careers of the young Delaneys reveal vistas of a vanishing Europe rich in colour and throbbing with old gaiety. The clash of the impulsive, artistic family with the calculating, aristocratic one is extremely well worked out. Above all, the three young Delaneys are characters one accepts as authentic.

One of the few books - if the only book - by du Maurier that is set at roughly the time it was written (it was published in 1949 and set in the 1930s and 1940s) and is a s
alessandra falca
Daphne du Maurier è chiaramente conosciuta e associata ad Alfred Hitchcock per "Rebecca, la prima moglie" e per "Gli Uccelli", ma in realtà è una scrittrice coi contro-fiocchi. Giochi psicologici nella descrizone dei personaggi, ossessioni e ansie popolano tutte le persone che incontriamo in questo libro. Libro ambientato in una Londra degli anni '50 tra artisti attori e palchi. Accidentalmente questa mia copia dei 'Parassiti' regalatami a natale era una copia 'fallata', mancante di circa 30 pag ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read many of Daphne Du Mauriers other books I was not disappointed with The Parasites. The complicated relationship between Maria, Niall and Celia is explored through revisiting the past in a way that Daphne does so well. The passage through their lives does enlighten you in some way as to why the children behave as they do. You can also tell that Daphne writes from experience as the children live in France for a time, just as she did herself. The ending is again rather strange and you ar ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

This book is really good, well written as always with Du Maurier's work. The siblings have a sad childhood which carries over to adulthood. The parents who cherish their careers over the children actually mirror those of today resulting in troubled children growing up lost and needy. Celia was basically a saint, while Maria and the boy were selfish and obviously unnaturally close. I didn't like Maria but did pity her. This is a good book club book as there are plenty of topics to discuss
Louise Self
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
There wasn't a lot to this book, the characters were not very likeable, whether they were selfish or mean or just pathetic, but there was a sense of some kind of big climax. This climax just never happens. There isn't much of a conclusion, the story just sort of fizzles out and no one really concludes anything.
I read this on a recommendation and think I would read more Daphne De Maurier books but maybe I would pick something with the promise of a bit more of a story to it.
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended by Slightly Foxed Books: "Novels You Must Read". Thanks Slightly Foxed! I'm such a Daphne du Marier fan, but I hadn't been able to get my hands on a copy of this until now. This is what she does best- the layers in relationships, the inner workings of a mind. I enjoyed it from start to finish.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a classic - it reaches into the darkest part of the human mind and soul and then drags your innermost thoughts out to be exposed. One may have hidden your tots and fears beneath your job, yur family, your talents - but this book challenges you to think about the truth
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“Watch that boy. He's going to startle somebody someday.” 17 likes
“Once a person gave his talent to the world, the world put a stamp upon it. The talent was not a personal possession any more. It was something to be traded, bought and sold. It fetched a high price, or a low one. It was kicked in the common market.” 9 likes
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