Dick Young is lent a house in Cornwall by his friend Professor Magnus Lane. During his stay he agrees to serve as a guinea pig for a new drug that Magnus has discovered in his scientific research.
When Dick samples Magnus' potion, he finds himself doing the impossible: traveling through time while staying in place, thrown all the way back into Medieval Cornwall. The concoction wears off after several hours, but its effects are intoxicating and Dick cannot resist his newfound powers. As his journeys increase, Dick begins to resent the days he must spend in the modern world, longing ever more fervently to get back into his world of centuries before, and the home of the beautiful Lady Isolda....
©2014 Daphne du Maurier (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"The House on the Strand is prime du Maurier." (New York Times)
Perhaps the title of this novel threw me off, as I was not expecting the uniquely absorbing, strange sci-fi / magical realism tale that quickly ravels. Du Maurier's weaving of multiple realities - which at times seem almost precipitously ready to unravel - creates a highly suspenseful push/pull effect.
This laxity at multiple seams, leaves the reader (in my opinion) in a pleasantly tenuous world of a myriad of mysterious possibilities. One in which the final conclusion manages to simultaneously unravel/ravel...dispel, while still mystifying.
The narrator is a little kooky sounding (some name pronunciations r intense) but he reads well & may be an oddly great match for the material.
Another reviewer was disappointed by the ending, but when listening to that climactic scene in which an unexpected twist reveals a second, deeper meaning, I found myself in tears of wonder, joy, and sorrow. I've rarely experienced a more satisfying ending to a story.
I read this years ago and remember it as being riveting, unusual and well written. Those recollections were confirmed, but I had not remembered the ending which at least this time around I found a bit unsatisfying. I want to get my old hardback copy out to make sure the audio version didn't miss a chapter!
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