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  • Writer's pictureRobert Sadler

Rebecca

Updated: Apr 30

Reading today's (Harvey Stanbrough) ‘Journal’ (https://hestanbrough.com/) it reminded me why I love one of the books I am re-reading for the, at this point, several-dozenth (if I can make that a portmanteau) time. The Daphne du Maurier novel, Rebecca written in 1938. 


And after I wrote the comment below, I got to thinking about how I am sometimes asked what I like to read. The list over time is long. However, most of the time now I say, Lee Child or John Sandford. Though I am quick to add, with my own writing I have very little time to enjoy the writing of other authors.


Then out of the blue… or maybe while searching my own library my eyes fall on the novel, Rebecca—and I automatically pause and think, how long’s it been and respond with well, that’s too long, just like the old Ranger in the Wolf Brand Chili commercial.


Thus in the last few days, when I could snatch some down time outside my writing corner, I’ve started reading the novel again which starts with a dream sequence which begins on the first page with the book’s first sentence:


 “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again.”


My hardcover copy (an 8x5.5” book of 457 pages) is a Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc, New York, edition printed MCMXXXIX (1939). I might note that my copy has chapter headings in Roman numerals, the last being CHAPTER XXIV.


This is the cover of my Kindle edition, re: Cover art copyright © Netflix 2020. Used with permission.



Some electronic editions these days have instead of simple chapter numbers, headings which indicate a semblance of a suggestion of the chapter’s content. Some even have ‘Afterwords’, lessons and studious explications of this or that matter of interpretation of the novel’s content and even study questions… I suppose for the purpose of students writing book reports or leading discussions of readers in book clubs.


I prefer to read this wondrous story simply for the pleasure of reading and thus, ‘being there.’


In my comment to Harvey’s Journal this morning--I wrote:


I could be wrong, but I cannot imagine that this book was outlined and plotted out ahead of time... it reads as if it had to be written into the dark. The story is rolled out just as if the character/s are living it. Very heavy with scene, setting and heavily descriptive narrative... I find it equally hard to image or exegete the mystery of never revealing the 'narrator's name' except that if one is writing what the characters are doing and saying, there never is a need to or for the narrator to include 'her' name. To anyone who has not read the book it is well worth the time IMHO... and I found it is also a wonderful book to read aloud to your partner.


Should you choose to read this book, and I hope you do, you can make your own assessments. These have been mine, in small measure. Far from my take on the whole.


Several movies have been made of du Maurier’s book. I can only recommend Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 version of Rebecca, shot in black and white, staring Laurence Olivier and John Fontaine, with supporting actors Judith Anderson, George Sanders and Gladys Cooper. NOTE: Due to 'production coeds' at the time, the manner of one of the character's death, is changed slightly in the movie.


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2 Comments


Harvey Stanbrough
Harvey Stanbrough
Apr 30

Thanks for the nod, Robert, as always. And of course, I'll let you recommend Rebecca to readers of the Journal.

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steve
steve
Apr 29

I've never read it but based on your recommendation I'm ordering it now. Thanks Robert. Steve Hodel

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