Daphne Du Maurier, an author and a playwright oft is classified as a romantic novelist. Whose stories and novels are generally described as ‘moody and resonant’, with a few overtones of paranormal in them. Many of her novels have been adopted into films, Rebecca being one of them. The novel starts off with the words: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”. These lines are highly symbolical as they hold somewhat the crux of the story and set a scene in which a mere dream becomes a nightmare.
The novel is perfectly set in the town of Monte Carlo and at the fictional house of Maxim De Winter – Manderley, Cornwall. As the novel progresses, we gradually come face-to-face with every character in the story. However we are blindfolded from the very identity of the narrator. A woman, a man, another woman’s shadow; a landscape, a house, and a hidden history. These six elements provide evidence of the raw gothic elements. Which were present in the novel while Du Maurier simplifies and organizes these six elements. Refining the narrative, concentrating the mythic, and enriching the ambiguity of her very own tale.
The novel Rebecca is an outstanding novel with hints of brilliance throughout the journey of it. It is by-far the best written novel after Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Of course they are explicit literary works in themselves and it would be futile to compare them at all. The excellent use of symbolism, irony, metaphors, and other literary themes. Makes it diverse in itself and the diverse selection of themes make it even more interesting to read.
The first-person narration provides explicit details of the thought process of the narrator and gives us insights to the deepest corners of the mind of the narrator and compels us to think, even imagine ourselves in that very situation; however, the extensive use of first-person narration and long pages of thought processes of the narrator sometimes might prove to be monotonous and boring even.
Despite its cold elegance and rich language, Rebecca’s plot is unashamedly soapy and suspenseful. My weakness for high drama and borderline campery means it ticks all my boxes. I adore it.
“It’s testament to Daphne du Maurier’s skill that she can pack a novel with people who, if you found your name next to theirs on a wedding seating plan, you would break your neck getting to the table before them to switch place-cards, and still make it worth reading.” – The Guyliner.
All in all, Rebecca is a must read for people who have a soft spot for a mystery, goth novel that takes a murder to top as the cherry on a cake. It is a novel that once read will compel you to imagine living in the beautiful Manderley and will make you want to grow azaleas or the rhododendrons and as we step into the utterly vivid and quite possibly a dangerous dreamworld of Manderley, “secretive and silent as it had always been”, Du Maurier’s creative power surely can’t be in doubt. We shall never be free from Rebecca – nor would we ever want to be.