radfrac_archive: (dichotomy)
[livejournal.com profile] seaopaqueRebecca didn't resolve in terms of imagery for me, though the plot of course resolves cleverly -- I would call it wittily, for the play of expectation and interpretation involved.

And then some more meandering thoughts on ethics in Rebecca. )

radfrac_archive: (dichotomy)

[livejournal.com profile] seaopaque, I'm approaching the climax and denouement of Rebecca.

The book is still obsessed with silence, withholding of information, refusing knowledge -- disavowal, they call that. So gothic you could teach it. There's an absolutely textbook moment when one character says of another's actions that she did things "I shall never repeat to another living soul."

I love these moments in the gothic, because -- what did she do? There just aren't that many terrible things you can actually do, and he probably doesn't mean most of them.

(Spoilers, sometimes clumsily obscured) )

I haven't entirely worked out what I think all this shifting of identity is doing -- maybe the ending will reveal all to me.


radfrac_archive: (dichotomy)
[livejournal.com profile] seaopaque and I are reading Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca because her mentor suggested it as a reference point for [livejournal.com profile] seaopaque's own novel (her novel! I love saying that), and because I, having minimal ability to generate structure in my life independently, do better if I have a reading project.

I think my comrade is mowing through Manderley at speed; I'm following along at an amble -- I'm on page 121 of 302. This is partly because of the weird motility of Du Maurier's prose. It flows forward, brisk and fluid. Yet the action it describes is so profoundly uncomfortable, while withholding for a long time the source of this discomfort, that reading Rebecca is a bit like being guided through an awful party without a visible exit. In this, the novel reminds me of Shirley Jackson or Patricia Highsmith. All three authors are experts in evoking the excruciating in the apparently ordinary, and the alarming psychological excrescences beneath banal situations. It's beautifully done, but it is designed to make me tense and it does, so I take breaks.

Further thoughts on Rebecca: Men with houses, women with dreams )

I've seen the movie several times, though not recently (googles, starts streaming movie) and it seems to me that it captures the mood of the book better than any other adaptation, or anyway any adaptation I'm currently able to access in memory. I know it well enough that, beginning to read, I wasn't sure if I might actually have read the book before.



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