A Little Du Maurier

I’ve read Rebecca (1938) by Daphne Du Maurier. It is a great book of suspense. I read it as part of the BBC book list that I was reading from when I started this blog. (I should get back to that.)

I’m not sure why, but I stopped there with Du Maurier. I didn’t think, “That was a great read: suspenseful, mysterious, engaging, and terrifying. I should read more from this author.” Why didn’t I say that to myself?

Recently, I saw a commercial for a suspenseful movie called My Cousin Rachel (book published in 1951), and when I realized that it was based on a book by Du Maurier, I immediately got a copy from the library and read it. It wasn’t as good as Rebecca, but it was still good. I really liked it. I still wanted to read it every chance I got. I still found myself wrapped up in the characters’ stories. I still found myself cringing when bad choices were made that could have avoided the horror that was to come. (And the “horror” was mostly financial ruin by manipulation. That’s horror. I’m married to a CPA; he would agree.)

So naturally, I checked out more of Du Maurier’s books from the library.

I’ve started with Jamaica Inn (1936), and already, I can see that I will be enthralled.

In my reading of these books, I am realizing that Du Maurier’s work isn’t considered to be “high brow.” Her work will likely never be considered part of the official “canon” of English literature. Nevertheless, I enjoy it, and I plan to keep reading it. And I would recommend it to friends. I also love that it fits the style of some of my favorite fiction, that of the early twentieth century.

Over the past few years, I’ve had my fill of high theory and important novels. I loved doing graduate work and I love being a professor, but for now, I just feel like reading whatever is interesting and fun.

Du Maurier’s books are just that.

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