Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Victor Gollancz, 1938; 448 pages; ISBN 1844080382
Goodreads Rating: 4.5 stars

As Halloween approaches (my absolute favorite holiday), I was
reminded of one of the very few suspenseful novels I have read, and of course it's a classic. At first I wasn't too impressed with the "suspenseful" aspects of the book, but once I got into the characters, the setting, and the plot, I was hooked and definitely not disappointed. I've been wanting to watch the Hitchcock version (Rebecca, Selznick International Pictures, 1940) of this book for ages, but I didn't want to watch it without having read the book first. I loved the writing, the atmosphere, the characters and just the whole story. It wasn't necessarily scary, but the sense of it was very foreboding, like something was going to happen and you didn't know what. I was truly surprised at the climax and even though the title character never really appears in the story, she appears through the character's reverence towards her; it was like I hated her but I wanted to meet her still. It took me a few weeks to get through this, but not because it wasn't a page turner, it's just that I chose to digest it a little bit at a time.  As soon as I finished the novel, I watched the film version.  I have to say that they did an excellent job of capturing the novel in the film, which was due in large part to the producer's controlling demeanor.  Nonetheless I was very happy with the casting and the way the movie unfolded.  It had that same suspenseful edge that the book had, without being in any way gory, blatant, or sensational.  I'm a Hitchcock fan, so I'm familiar with some of his other films, but I do have to say that this one is not as Hitchcockian (which is actually a real word!) as some of his other works.  If you are looking for something a bit more on the subtle side for the scary season, I would venture to find a copy of the film, or just curl up with the original.

Photo: From website

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