The House on the Strand, Daphne du Maurier
Originally reviewed 9th August, 2012
I don’t know why I’ve always been reluctant about reading Daphne du Maurier’s work: I don’t know what I thought it was going to be like, because both this and Rebecca were atmospheric and intriguing. Slower than your average thrillers maybe, but I do think there’s something in them that captures the mind. A little patience works wonders.
The narrator’s background contempt for Vita, not fully realised by himself, is both well written and discomforting: the hints at the end that it could have been all in his mind are interesting — it seems almost a cliché looking at it that way, but it read well here, and oh, the ending.
I got into the medieval story than the modern one; like the narrator I found it more real, full of passion and life — which really, I suppose, shows it to be a fiction, or at least that the narrator experiences it in the episodic manner of fiction, while his real life remains unsatisfactory. Like the narrator I’m glad to have experienced Roger and Isolda’s stories. And I can understand the draw of them for the protagonist, and how prepared he is to throw what he has away to see them, to know them.
I’m half wishing I was writing the dissertation on time travel we all joked about in the first semester of my MA. It’d give me an excuse to keep on thinking about this book.