Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, 448 pages, paperback, £6.99, Waterstones.
‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’
Daphne Du Maurier’s most iconic novel begins in one of the most famous houses of all. Manderley. A sudden flashback to the house brings a sense of intrigue as the reader begins to follow the future Mrs. De Winter in Monte Carlo. However it is only when Mrs. De Winter gets to Manderley that she realises that all is not what it seems at this enchanting place.
Daphne Du Maurier demonstrates descriptive language at its finest whilst balancing the drama perfectly amongst the dialogue. After reading this novel I can see elements of modern literature that has taken certain aspects of this novel into their own. The concept of the pensive in Harry Potter is similar to Du Maurier’s interpretations of memory. Furthermore with certain characters within the novel, it is a little more of a coincidence that Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl takes a similar approach in characterisation.
Reflecting back on Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier appears to have been one of the first influential female writer’s to have written a psychological thriller. Yes, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is a close second, however I would suggest that this takes a more horrific approach as opposed to a psychological view. The closest I have seen writing as similar as this would be Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. Sadly this is just a novella, however if you have enjoyed this read previously then Rebecca is the book for you.
Du Maurier’s novel has a strong focus on identification of the self. Her writing shows elements of the beauty myth to emphasise self identity, through becoming the new wife of Mr. De Winter and the new owner of Manderley. It appears as if the main character is in a world where she is being told how to be, that she must break all of these barriers in order to find herself and her courage along the way.
I would suggest this novel to everyone purely because I do not feel that this novel is solely for men, women or children. Rebecca could be casted as a coming of age novel as the main character is trying to find themselves within the world. However if you like thrillers, in particular a psychological one, then again this is a must.
If anyone has already read this please let me know your thoughts. After all, everyone’s views of Manderley are different.
You can buy Rebecca here. Best of Reading.