"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home."
- Anna Quindlen
This is where I was this weekend:
Can you think of a better place to read
Although the novel takes place over the span of a single summer, and du Maurier devotes page after page to describing Manderley's grounds in vivid, multifarious bloom, this can't be anything but an autumn book for me. It's just too creepy and unsettling. It's just too fucked up.
Although gothic romance has never been my thing ("horrible people being horrible to each other in fancy houses," I scoffed after reading
And Mrs. de Winter is painfully familiar to everyone who has ever been a dweeby 14-year-old with a crush. Her shyness, naïvete, and Bella-like clumsiness are her only defined traits, making her relatable by virtue of her most superficial shortcomings. She's fully obnoxious, and her husband is a frosty SOB, but they're both utterly compelling anyway. Along with Mrs. Danvers, the menacing and totally batshit housekeeper, and Favell, Rebecca's caddish cousin, the character dynamics alone more than held my interest.
But everything about this novel - characters, plot, setting, theme - is so deliciously fucked up. Everyone's hiding something. Every twist presages an even eerier one. Manderley's grounds are full of ominous crannies and nooks where horrible events have taken place. Nothing is safe and nothing is simple.
I haven't been so thoroughly lost in a novel in a long time, and for that total immersion alone I'd rate it highly. But I really can't find anything at all to criticize - I loved everything about it from beginning to end. It's such a well-constructed, tense and gripping novel. Flawless.