Ever since Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier has regularly disconcerted those critics who seem to assume that, to be great, a writer must be dull, obscure, and pretentious. The Scapegoat, which is none of these, is both an unashamed best-seller and by any test, a great novel. The extraordinary story takes hold of the reader and never lets go; the setting ...
Ever since Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier has regularly disconcerted those critics who seem to assume that, to be great, a writer must be dull, obscure, and pretentious. The Scapegoat, which is none of these, is both an unashamed best-seller and by any test, a great novel. The extraordinary story takes hold of the reader and never lets go; the setting in a French chateau in these times is wholly real; the prose is simple and assured; and finally, the characters speak, act, and react precisely as they would have done in that family network of hatred, deceit, and jealousy. In particular the portrait of a neurotic child is exquisitely drawn. By an intriguing device the role of scapegoat for the sins of a charming, idle, and destructive French aristocrat and his family is thrust upon a lonely English traveller. His personality sets off a series of dramatic reactions, in which the author reveals a perfect comprehension of the chemistry of human nature.
Good. No dust jacket as issued. Tight binding, sturdy copy but with yellowing/ tanning of pages due to age. 320 p. Audience: General/trade. A chance encounter in a French station buffet lands an English traveller in the shoes of a charming and unscrupulous French aristocrat. The dramatic results of his plunge into a family network of jealousy and deceit are told by Daphne du Maurier, against the background of an old French chateau, with an effortless comprehension of the workings of human nature.
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Although the situation and behavior of the protagonist is implausible, the fantasy of passing as a member of the family and director of the business of your unknown doppelganger is intriguing. Daphne Du Maurier is an intelligent, articulate story teller, who keeps you wondering: 'how is he going to do it?' and 'Will it work?'
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