Posted 20 hours ago

The Scapegoat (Virago Modern Classics)

ZTS2023's avatar
Shared by
Joined in 2023

About this deal

He turned and stared at me and I at him, and I realised, with a strange sense of shock and fear and nausea all combined, that his face and voice were known to me too well. I do not reveal the end in other novels or short stories by Daphne du Maurier because there is a final twist. The feeling of power, of triumph that I was outwitting this little group of unsuspecting people had turned again to shame. I seriously doubt a stranger could step into someone else’s shoes without being discovered, but it does sound like a fascinating premise. On waking, he discovers that the man has disappeared, taking all John's own clothes and belongings, and leaving him to play the role of the "Comte Jean de Gué".

In fact you can see from my review above I was assuming this was the first tine I had laid eyes on this book. So despite the somewhat dated side of the context (the declining French aristocracy), the clichés (the mistress with a big heart, the runner-up squire), the improbabilities (the teacher probably knows the French language well. When John, an Englishman whose area of expertise is France, meets his doppelganger, the Comte Jean de Gue, he finds himself unexpectedly tricked into trading places.

This is the point where the story takes a fairly unlikely turn (if it hadn’t already) in that John decides to live Jean’s life, moving in with his family and picking up the loose threads of the life Jean had left behind. In The Scapegoat, her ancestral glass-blowing foundry became the failing business of the de Gué family. Years of study, years of training, the fluency with which I spoke their language, taught their history, described their culture, had never brought me closer to the people themselves.

Again, less gothic, but satisfying (although I must say, it left me quite curious as to what followed the final page).As the two drink together, John confesses that he is depressed, feeling as though his outward life is a meaningless façade, and the pair move on to a hotel where John passes out. The image used in the site header is a fragment from Benozzo Gozzoli's fresco Procession of the Magi. I loved the rural French setting and I’m thinking about The Glass-Blowers – I’ll look out for your review, and I think Ali might be reading it, too. If you have ever read any of Daphne du Maurier’s novels, you will immediately recognize what I mean when I say the narrator here is another of her identity-free individuals.

Daphne du Maurier was born on 13 May 1907 at 24 Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, London, the middle of three daughters of prominent actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and actress Muriel, née Beaumont. That time might have come, certainly it is very near; because when you go on storing away memories of books, of stories, of characters, it is inevitable that older memories will be pushed further back. Exploring the derelict buildings, she saw fragments of the glass they had made, still there, scattered by the wind.Trying to walk in someone else's shoes can be a valuable experience - you can learn a lot about yourself. After a night of drinking, John awakes to find Jean has disappeared with John's identification papers, luggage, and car. I was so pleased when my good friend Ali of the Heaven-Ali blog announced she was doing another Daphne du Maurier Reading Week and I was lucky enough to be able to borrow one of the remaining ones I had to read and fancied (I’ve previously read “ Rebecca“, “ Jamaica Inn” and “ My Cousin Rachel” for her 2020 and 2021 Weeks). Next thing he knows, he’s been duped, tricked and drugged and is faced with the temptation of taking on a different person’s life – someone with a full life, living in a chateau with a large extended family, but also someone who turns out to be Not Very Nice, having led an idle life of minor cruelties, complete with wife and two mistresses, not engaging in the family firm; a wastrel. The two men talk, they drink together, and John remembers nothing more until he wakes in a hotel room.

However, the priest for Françoise's funeral finds him and takes the gun, believing he was planning suicide. There is a bit of an anticlimax at the end, and du Maurier did not quite manage to suspend our disbelief completely regarding this situation of two compete look alikes, who speak different languages, not only meeting but then one’s family mistaking a stranger for its own family member, inviting him home.He feels impotent, and that whatever he does will not work; he is sinking further and further into a morass of his own making. This is one of the best books I've read this year - it is definitely the best fiction that is not a reread. possessed by a reckless feeling I had never known before, the sensation that I myself did not matter any more. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. In Rebecca, on the other hand, du Maurier fuses psychological realism with a sophisticated version of the Cinderella story.

Asda Great Deal

Free UK shipping. 15 day free returns.
Community Updates
*So you can easily identify outgoing links on our site, we've marked them with an "*" symbol. Links on our site are monetised, but this never affects which deals get posted. Find more info in our FAQs and About Us page.
New Comment