Just as I love to hear old Hindi songs, similarly I love to read classic English novels.That is another thing, that due to poor eye sight I am not able to read many books. I read Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier's novel, first time in 1960 . It had such a lasting influence on my mind, that after that I must have read it innumerable times,some times the complete book and other times parts of the book.
The opening lines of the book,'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again... I came upon it suddenly; the approach masked by the unnatural growth of a vast shrub that spread in all directions... There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been....."The lines leave a mysterious effect on the reader. Manderlay is an imaginary fictitious name given to the place where the story takes place. The novel has romance, horror, mystery, jealousy and hatred all in its pages.
The name Rebecca, is not the name of the heroine. She is a woman, the ex wife of Maxim, who is believed to have died on a stormy night in boat wreck.The story is narrated in first person by the heroine, whose name does not appear in the novel. After a wind whirl romance ,she is married to Maxim, who takes her to his ancestral estate,Manderlay. There she is introduced to Mrs.Danvers, the personal housekeeper of Rebecca. Maxim's wife is made to feel that she is no match to sophisticated Rebecca. In every thing she is compared to Rebecca, with the result that she believes that her husband was deeply in love with his first wife. Beatrice, Maxim's sister tries to belie her opinion , but the narrator feels it is only to make her comfortable.
Every year there is a Ball in Manderlay, an event which was always remembered by the natives, and they eagerly waited for another year. One day Mrs.Danver's appears in the room of the second wife, who is stunned to see her. She asks Mrs Maxim what dress she was planning to wear for the Ball. She, sarcastically says that Rebecca used to plan the whole year, the design of the dress. She tells her to get a dress stitched on the basis of a portrait hanging in the Hall. While leaving the room she told Mrs. Maxim not to tell anything to her husband and to give a big surprise on the evening of the Ball. On the great day, as she appeared on the staircase, her arrival was announced. All eyes turned towards her. She was waiting for Maxim's reaction,when he went near her with blood in his eyes. He shouted at her,"You fool, who asked you to wear this dress?'She rushed back to her room and muttered,"It is all over between us." It was Mrs. Danver's game plan . That night Maxim did not come to her room. She decided to quit Manderlay.Next morning she was surprised to see the commotion outside. She asked one of the servants the reason for all that hectic activity. He told her that the previous night there was a cloud burst. The body of Madam has been found, stuck in a boat. It was shocking for her. She thought, " Poor Maxim, how he will bear every thing?"
Without going into the details, I will just state Rebecca was a flirt,she had many undesirable friends and on that night she lied to Maxim that she was pregnant. The rest as the saying goes,"See on the silver screen".
I found the book very interesting. It was published in 1937 and still has a vast readership. The interest of the reader is maintained, except some pages where Maxim's business propositions are discussed. A must read book!!
Written in response to Write Tribe Pro Bloggers week 3, day14