Saturday, September 24, 2016


I've seen Rebecca, of course.  20 years ago, as a first year law student, Friday night was movie night and I focused on classics.  I bought the book over a decade ago (at Atlantic Books in Stone Harbor; the free bookmark listed several stores but by 2008 they were down to that store and the warehouse) and it sat on my shelf long enough for me to forget all but the most basic parts of the story.

I'm glad I did, because I don't think the creepy atmosphere would work quite as well if I knew the real relationship between Rebecca and Maxim.  The narrator, the second Mrs. de Winter, is a young, naive woman who'd been working as a paid companion to a delightfully vulgar character when Maxim de Winter courts and marries her over the course of a few weeks.  She's madly in love, but afraid that Maxim doesn't love her as much as he could have loved Rebecca.  Rebecca de Winter, whom everyone admired and loved.  A woman who inspired such devotion that the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, keeps her room as if it were a shrine.   Du Maurier's elegant but slightly claustrophobic story unrolls through Mrs. de Winter's eyes, letting us know only what she does and leaving the twist truly shocking (at least if you haven't seen the movie recently).

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