It's hard to go wrong with this one. good narration. great noir/existential story. a classic and another that i can return to and enjoy many times. Cain is great and look forward to newly discovered Waitress.
forget the Hitchcock film, this is light years better. (I guess Hitch was hampered by censorship)
for starters we have the basic plot.
now overlay the gothic tradition (think Jane Eyre) and think about that.
then notice how the "heroine" goes unnamed, and start to think about her problems of identity, and how she is never allowed to develop her own individuality/persona and has "roles" imposed upon her by Mrs. Van Hopper, Maxim, Mrs. Danvers (one of the great characters in fiction), and by Rebecca, and lastly by the estate of Manderly itself and the requirements and expectations of the people in and around it.
now start to pay attention to DuMaurier's use of dreams, fantasies, daydreams, "that's not how it is in the movies", "in novels they do this", etc. to underscore how this girl/woman's imagined life and future constantly runs afoul of reality and tie that back to her identity crisis.
now think about D's use of imagery: the driveway (and plot and secrets) twists and turns like a snake. and all of the other imagery involving loss of identity, lack of identity, identity imposed/determined by others, by society, by low self esteem, by fears, memories, the past, history, genealogy.
& think about how at the time of it's publication, 1938, that it was so popular the Nazi's based a book code on it because it would be no surprise to see the book everywhere.
as you can tell i love this novel. I have read/listened to a dozen or more of DuMaurier's works and even if they were not quite something i would normally read, i have enjoyed almost all of them. she is a talented writer, there is a class to her style that I've always appreciated whether the novel was suspense, mystery, macabre, more of a romance, history, biographical, she even has some fantasy/scifi type stuff (more so in short stories) like the Birds, Don't Look Now (a little masterpiece I think), and an alternate history thing Rule Britannia.
you can do far worse than putting down a current pop writer and trying Daphne. Please try Rebecca, Don't look Now, & Scapegoat
this guy is a little too busy telling you to make sure and get your friends to buy his stuff to really spend too much time on memory techniques and examples. there are some interesting ideas and some tidbits at the very end, like a movie after credit sequence that you might miss if you stop, after he gets done telling you how great he is some more, but overall not worth the time. sorry. luckily it is short so try it if you want but i think i'd rather look elsewhere. and i have used some memory techniques for test taking that worked great for me, but he doesn't even mention them. and as far as poetry, which is after all in the title, there are almost no examples.
probably more for fans of Hemingway and Paris of which i am one. some interesting tidbits about EH and his novels but nothing too seriously in depth, perhaps the germs of ideas for scholarly research some day. & even though I have been to Paris twice and love it, and hit a couple of EH's spots like the Cafe De La Paix, it is difficult to remember all of the streets mentioned etc. when he is "re-tracing" the routes of EH or Jake Barnes. it would be interesting to go again and hit some of the spots and routes mentioned. a quick little diversion.
this is billed as an "oh my god" horror novel but it is not like that at all I don't think. it is well done and a lot more in it than i remembered from having read it years ago. If you're familiar at all with Fowle's The Magus, the film the Wicker Man, fertility rites, Burnt Offerings, greek myth and Eleusinian mysteries you will pick up on what's going on early on and for that reason it didn't surprise me nor shock me.
I like it very much for all those reasons (tidbits of lore and history etc.) and i think it is well researched as far as that goes. Joseph Campbell deals with a lot of fertility rites etc that have some shocking elements and I think that Tryon's overall "reconstruction" of a society of that type is very well thought out.
I can't rank it as highly as The Other as i feel there are some moments that needed to be redrawn as they got a bit unbelievable or cliche, and i think that it meanders a bit along the way to it's goal, whereas the Other didn't feel like there was anything extraneous in it.
Overall I'm glad i revisited it and found many things in it that i'd totally forgotten and it is better than i remembered. A friend liked this one better than Other. I think that with a little more pace, it could make for an excellent film if someone like HBO took the time to do a little mini series and cover all the important detail.
(i do think the narrator was fine but a little lackluster, some moments needing more emotion in a character's voice than he gave)
for a good short piece in this style, though modern setting, it is well done and i enjoyed it. i would say that perhaps the plot and temperament is more noir than the style but it works. a bit Body Heat/Miami Vice setting, not a cop story. love noir style and hope they keep doing more though this is technically i suppose a neo-noir. can't say too much without giving something away.
never quite sure what's real what's imagined what's exaggerated and it matters not a bit, just enjoy it.
while the first 1/2 - 2/3 had gut bustingly funny moments and the second 1/2 not so much, it may also be that i wasn't quite in tune with 2nd half and so some slipped by me, however, what i found myself latching onto more in second half is the beauty of the writing.
he has a unique style.( after looking at others of his it appears this is his style) a bit stage direction-ish : "A black car coming down the street. Paper blowing in the wind." statements of fact at times a bit fragmentary sounding, but once you get in the with it it works.
i think everything in the novel is filtered through george smith's point of view. (all of it perhaps totally unreliable like Humbert)
sometimes he thinks about himself in the third person (fitting in a way because he is a little detached from others and himself at times) and describes what george smith is doing etc.
at times we slip into his stream of consciousness and so we pick up less exposition to ground us in the details of a situation. fragmentary sentences and images and also poetic descriptions.
and at other times we get only straight dialogue between him and others with no indication at all of what they are doing while they're talking, not simply tone of voice nor facial expressions etc., but sometimes you realize they might be having sex that takes a bit to reveal itself through their dialogue. and then at times he seems to fall into euphoric dream states or fugue states while they're having sex.
the style really makes your mind work overtime visualizing and figuring out "plot" (such as it is, and i'm still not sure of everything that's happening, and ultimately the "plot" may be totally irrelevant) but I have really been drawn in by the poetic passages, sometimes in sexcapades, sometimes in his stream of C musings, sometimes just in his descriptive passages. i think it's a beautiful if bawdy and zany novel and the style works wonderfully.
and ultimately it is a great love story.
i want to "study" him more now that i have a handle on how to get into the style, but i don't want to burn out on someone so interesting. maybe i'll wait a bit and come back to the other one, hoping meanwhile that they do a third one or more. Hoping for his classic Ginger Man.
so i guess i'm recommending you try it and see if you like it. it will take some focus to get immersed in the world but i hope you'll at least appreciate the style if not the novel.
very nice writing. nice period detail. a bit Gatsby-ish but written with Hemingway-esque tone, and with the "lost generation" themes running through it, some aimless, drunken living, frank detail and again i think very existentialist feeling.
this is not just a blood and guts werewolf story, though there are some moments. it's much more of a psychological study and a biographical history of an individual that becomes a werewolf, and initially we get his ancestor's story for a stretch before he even comes into the story. it may not be fast paced enough for Twilight crowd but I thought there were some interesting things in it, and it is one of the "original" werewolf stories that laid the foundation for much that came after. with some modernization it could be done very well as a film. & was the basis for the Oliver Reed werewolf film. for being written in 1933 it had some elements that surprised me. it is always interesting to me to find in some old lit tidbits of history or even "pop" culture, for example how early a word or phrase was used that i thought was modern or even how long ago Coke was popular etc. probably not going to be a favorite among the MTV generation
very interesting "you are there" type situation with the radio broadcasts and running "real time" updates from the trial. some good details in the description of the Nazi's on trial etc. and the limited info at the time (though we have more perspective from this distance and that adds to the horror at times). highly recommend for something different and for history buffs.
sorry but this falls under the category of "watch out, be scared, I'm going to use a lot of ominous words but nothing really is going to happen." and nothing does. what passed for creepy doesn't hold up especially when all you get is some suggestive hints and words.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.