Jack Mckeever's Reviews > Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
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it was amazing

Obviously I'd known that 'Rebecca' was a classic for quite some time. But when I heard that one of my favourite directors, Ben Wheatley (A Field in England, Sightseers, High-Rise) was making a new adaptation for Netflix starring Lily James, Keeley Hawes, Sam Riley and many other mercurial British acting talents, I thought it was time to plough through it.

And it's fair to say that this book delivered me a left hook that completely blew me away. The blurb on my copy reads that 'not since Jane Eyre was a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman', which, to me, sets a premise of romance and upper-class insecurity. But this is far more of a thriller, a shadowy, murder-smothered and deeply unnerving read. From Du Maurier's creeping, dark depictions of South-West England's immersive countryside to the nightmarish Mrs. Danvers, everything in 'Rebecca' is covered in a kind of pervasive eerie-ness, an uncompromising unease which surrounds you as you read as the horrifying circumstances within the novel unfurl. It took about 80-100 pages for me to become convinced, but once I was suckered into this subtly murky novel it was hard to leave.

Du Maurier's dialogue is pristine and perfect, deceptively simple and captivating - her characters are like the most troubled specimens in a Stephen King story, but with more British urgency. They're richly drawn, recognisable and un-likeable when they need to be, meaning that any twists or characterisations are completely believable and never seem contrived, even in the novel's action-packed final third.

I cannot wait to see what Ben Wheatley will do with Rebecca. The sense of disquiet that permeates his films seems at one with Du Maurier's own dark understanding of the human condition.
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Reading Progress

July 24, 2020 – Started Reading
July 24, 2020 – Shelved
July 29, 2020 – Finished Reading

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