Friday, June 26, 2009

Daphne du Maurier saved my life

...or at least my sanity on a couple of occasions. It's strange but true.

About eight years ago I was going through a rough patch. What helped me greatly was reading Daphne Du Maurier's The Parasites albeit at a snail's pace. It is a wonderful book, although not earth-shattering (which I wouldn't say for a couple others of the Du Maurier oevre which I have attempted to read). I read about a page a day, but somehow my absorption with the detail of the book enabled me to refocus my mind.

Now La Du Maurier is providing a similar anchoring service via her life as told in Margaret Forster's excellent auto-biography. I'm up to about 1956 so far, and it is proving a riveting read. It helps that I am the son of a Fowey girl, so the places and people mentioned mean a lot to me. Du Maurier stayed with a "Miss Roberts" at Bodinnick when she wrote Loving Spirit. "Miss Roberts" was my mother's'Aunt Rhoda'.

One of these days, I suppose I'll get round to reading Rebecca. I tried Frenchman's Creek once but only managed to get up to page 4.

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