My brother has informed me that I mustn’t believe people when they tell me that they enjoy reading about me. Instead I should hurry up and write about one of those Daphne du Maurier books I keep talking about. So I’m going to be sharing my latest adventure with the enchanting Daphne du Maurier as best as I can.
The Du Mauriers by Daphne du Maurier is a biographical account of the author’s family. I like it because although it’s based on real events it isn’t rigidly structured to include supposedly important facts like most biographies. Instead the book uses fascinating details from real events to create a fictional story. I like the fact that the characters are loosely based on individuals from the du Maurier family and that they’ve been brought to life by Daphne du Maurier’s creativity and vivid imagination.
The voice is not poetic but very matter of fact. And, I found that that made the story easier for me to read. To me it felt like it was what helped the story flow as easily and realistically as it did.
The Du Mauriers focuses mostly on Daphne du Maurier’s grandfather, George du Maurier, who is the author of the novel, Trilby. It also details his family history but most of the facts are shaped to suit the picture that Daphne du Maurier had for the book as a fictional dramatic comedy.
I’m not very good at doing an in-depth analysis of a book. It’s probably because I’m so absorbed in the story that I forget to question myself about what it is exactly that is so absorbing in the story. However, I was able to place my finger on one or two elements. For one, The Du Mauriers was very different from My Cousin Rachel, which I had liked but just not as much. I have never really been able to enjoy books that create a dark brooding atmosphere.
Although one of the major themes in this book was misfortune the story was related quite cheerfully. The world that this book creates for its reader is sunny. The unhappy circumstances are stated because they make the story believable. The story doesn’t stir up any strong emotions. It’s just a very pleasant read to forget about everyday worries.
I think this book is deeply absorbing because the characters are fascinating, there are parts that are witty, and parts that are amusing. Daphne du Maurier’s style of describing her stories is enviable. It’s the perfect remedy to escape the elf at the back of your mind reminding you of all the things you still have left to be done.
I’m adding a paragraph from the story that I particularly liked. I can’t stop marveling at how she manages to describe so much in so little!
“Mary Anne in a temper was the same Mary Anne, even if she was sixty-three. The whole household was in an uproar. Plates were smashed, cushions were torn, the servants were cursed and dismissed in one breath, and the flow of language that poured from the painted lips would have done credit to the most hardened fish-porter in Billingsgate, where, in all probability, she had learnt it in the first place. The children were sent to play in the bedrooms while their grandmother threw the china about in the salon – a pity they were not permitted to join in the fun – and Ellen, very tight-lipped and shocked, demanded to know what it was all about.”