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Rebecca
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Book of the Month > Rebecca

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message 1: by Trinity (new)

Trinity | 803 comments Mod
Discuss here.


John Graham Wilson A novel where the main character is already dead and the living narrator does not have a name! Terrific idea!


Skye | 364 comments I adore this book, and yes, you are right; we never discover the narrator's name other than the second Mrs. De Winter.


Skye | 364 comments I haven't read this in years, but I have read it many times in the past, and I think it was a brilliant piece of writing with so many unusual characters.


Kathy Reread this one a couple of month's ago. The opening paragraph is one of the most beautiful paragraphs that I have ever read.


John Graham Wilson Kathy wrote: "Reread this one a couple of month's ago. The opening paragraph is one of the most beautiful paragraphs that I have ever read."

Yes, the opening paragraph is wonderful and sets the whole tone of the rest of the book.


John Graham Wilson If anyone is interested in astrology, it is worth mentioning that the author had a Jupiter/Neptune conjunction in her natal horoscope: Jupiter = expansion; Neptune = the imagination, especially related to the mysterious and mystical. But, as a Taurus, she seemed very down-to-earth in her interviews.


Skye | 364 comments John wrote: "Kathy wrote: "Reread this one a couple of month's ago. The opening paragraph is one of the most beautiful paragraphs that I have ever read."

Yes, the opening paragraph is wonderful and sets the wh..."


"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley, again.." I am not attuned to astrology, John.


Skye | 364 comments I believe the first page presents us with a haunting premise; the narrator's love for Maximilian and her obsessive/compulsion to discover all about he predecessor.


message 10: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments Kathy wrote: "Reread this one a couple of month's ago. The opening paragraph is one of the most beautiful paragraphs that I have ever read."

Yes, Kathy, I agree with you.


message 11: by Kathy (last edited May 29, 2017 08:15AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kathy The reason that I gave this novel 4 instead of 5 stars is due to the passivity of the second Mrs. de Winters. Of course, part of it could be a generational difference. I believe it was written in the mid 1930's when passivity was more accepted in women. The turn-off for me wasn't the shy awkwardness or the social inability to deal with most people. It was the reaction she had to the revelation of (view spoiler)


message 12: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments Yes, she was obsessed with Max, but she was also a timid creature who had allowed others to beat her down: first she is the companion of that disagreeable Van Hopper, and then we see that Mrs. Danvers has the ability to manipulate and further intimidate her, but that is her personality, and the reason Max is drawn to her: she is Rebecca's anti thesis, and perhaps this was her allure.


Kathy I have to admit I carry my own baggage into the reading of all stories!


message 14: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments Kathy, we all do, I think; I really believe reading is a subjective activity; in fact, I can read and adore a book for so many reasons, and then years later re-read the book and feel blasé about it or completely disenchanted.


message 15: by Trinity (new)

Trinity | 803 comments Mod
Uh-Oh... Doesn't bode well for me here. I have an issue with passive, timid women in novels...


Kathy Wife #2 gives a whole new meaning to passivity! Beautifully written, though.


message 17: by Trinity (new)

Trinity | 803 comments Mod
I will still give it a shot. No harm in that.


message 18: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments Trinity, it is a wonderful book and there are several 'villain' figures.


message 19: by Skye (last edited May 31, 2017 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments Kathy wrote: "Wife #2 gives a whole new meaning to passivity! Beautifully written, though."

LOL, Kathy!!!!


message 20: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Graham Wilson Which character is the driving engine in this novel? Hardly Max; he seems to be too much at a loose end after the death of Rebecca. Nor the 2nd Mrs De Winter; too much of a victim pushed around by circumstances and other people. Then how about Rebecca? Much remains mysterious (until the end). Or, maybe ... Mrs Danvers?


message 21: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments I think it is a trio; passive or not, Mrs. de Winters is very much the character as she keeps pressing all issues and also serves as a catalyst for the other characters' actions; Mrs. Danvers is a driving force, and of course Rebecca creates havoc ( during her life and in death) but it is Mrs. de Winters who keeps searching for the answers.


message 22: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Graham Wilson Yes, I agree. What is the difference between the 2nd Mrs de Winter at the start of the book and how she evolves in her understanding of what is going on? What is her journey? (I was not sure she had one.)


message 23: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments I believe it might have been two-fold, John: she wanted to escape her lower status as companion, and Max was very wealthy, but I think she was weary of being down trodden and subservient, yet during that time frame, it was difficult for any woman to rise above her so-called lot in life; thereafter, and more importantly, she became obsessed with Rebecca who appeared to have the love and complete devotion of all whose lives she touched. In Mrs. de Winter's mind, Rebecca had it all; devotion, love, beauty, wealth and a command of all under her spell.


message 24: by Kathy (last edited Jun 02, 2017 07:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kathy John wrote: "Yes, I agree. What is the difference between the 2nd Mrs de Winter at the start of the book and how she evolves in her understanding of what is going on? What is her journey?."

I am not sure if the second Mrs. de Winter's changed much during the story. She seemed to want Max's total attention. She also seemed to want the security of his position in life. I think my biggest disappointment in her was that she was relieved that Max didn't really love Rebecca not horrified by the murder. Of course, by protecting Max from discovery, she was able to stay attached to him for life.

Susan Hill wrote Mrs. de Winter, a sequel to Rebecca. I happened to find a copy in a used book store. It will be interesting to read another author's imaging of what happened to the couple after the fatal fire at Manderly. Doesn't look like it gets a lot of good reviews.


message 25: by Skye (last edited Jun 03, 2017 09:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments Great question and answer. Yes, Kathy she was definitely satisfied that Max hadn't loved Rebecca and not at all disturbed by the murder. So if we back up, in a way, the second Mrs, de Winter was quite manipulative and uses Max's disclosure as a bond to keep him dependent on her, in a sick, needy manner. I did just check out the Susan Hill book; frankly, I am not very fond of other writers picking up a thread. I never cared for the prequel to Jane Eyre, but then again, many loved it.


Kathy I agree. I didn't like Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James even though I liked Pride and Prejudice. I kept thinking Elizabeth wouldn't act like that!


message 27: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments Kathy, this makes so much sense to me: I think we like certain writers for subjective reasons: I call it 'voice/tone' and separate from point of view, and it's even hard for me to explain. It's what attracts a reader to a written work, despite a lousy plot or setting or even characterizations: it's a quality that makes someone stay up all night just to read, or puts one off a particular book; Daphne Du Maurier had a voice/tone that couldn't be replicated.


message 28: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Graham Wilson Yes, voice is always significant.


message 29: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Graham Wilson Skye wrote: "Great question and answer. Yes, Kathy she was definitely satisfied that Max hadn't loved Rebecca and not at all disturbed by the murder. So if we back up, in a way, the second Mrs, de Winter was qu..."

Hi Skye and Kathy, I am always a bit nervous about asking questions connected to social class and historical materialism in lit crit because Anglo/Americans are either poorly informed or paranoid about "Cahmunism". Moreover, DdM seemed apolitical in her views - nothing about the 30s rise of UK left-wing thinking (e.g. in the universities). But it does seem to me that this is a book about class. The point about obsession with Rebecca might not be a conscious one (the Gothic elements - spooky presences) could be just mystery-mongering and, as far as I remember, there were no overt references to class consciousness on the part of Mrs dW number two anywhere in the book. In fact, Mrs dW was outstanding for her lack of questioning about herself or Max and she just accepted so much of what was around her. As Kathy points out, she was also untouched by the murder. You are right about Rebecca "having it all" - I guess that relates to a lot of chick lit fascinations in our time!


Kathy John, class definitely played a part in this novel. Mrs dW#2 worked as a companion before marriage. Her marriage represented (to me) the hope that people could now move from one social sphere to another. However, she was still looked down on by the hired, working class (Mrs. Deavers) for trying to move up in social status. Rebecca was born into her social sphere but socialized with the working class so she was scorned by her contemporaries. I even feel that the book hints that she deserved her fate for not "knowing" her place.

I am not sure how much was consciously projected by du Marier who had an interesting family background herself and who lived during the time period you mentioned.


message 31: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments I never considered this aspect, but John and Kathy, this certainly makes sense ( and trust me), there has always been a class / caste system in the States based upon income, especially OLD income and not nouveau riche groups. We are a country in great, financial division, but John, you truly make some very sounds statement. Again, whether or not this was 'consciously' portrayed by Daphne Du Maurier will always be 'up for grabs.' As far as your statement about 'chick lit' fascination, I'm uncertain what that entails.


message 32: by Suki (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 14 comments This is my second reading of Rebecca, and I enjoyed it just as much the second time through. I loved the plot twists.

I also found the narrator's passivity to be very frustrating at first, but the whole book would have played out very differently if she had been anything other than who she was, and I agree with the previous comments about class playing a large part in her behavior.

The odd thing about the book for me is that it always seems to read as if it is set and written in the 1960s, although it was first published in 1938. My brain persists in seeing Rebecca in 1960s clothing.

I found myself rooting for Max and the second Mrs dW to have their happily ever after, even if it did mean (view spoiler)


message 33: by Skye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Skye | 364 comments This is very interesting, and yet, I can see the time frame could have been in the sixties. We've had so many different takes on the narrator's reserved and timid personality, and all make sense to me.


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