30 day book challenge – day 17 – Author I wish people would read more.
It’s no secret that I love Daphne Du Maurier. I went through every book on my shelves looking for an obscure author that I could write about in this post, but the only name that kept coming into my mind was Daphne Du Maurier.
I’m not claiming that I have discovered her or that I am the first or only person to read any of her books. She is famous. Some of her books are famous. Many of her books have been adapted for film or TV or the stage. People know about Daphne Du Maurier.
But I wish that more people of my generation read her books. I don’t know anyone in their 20s or younger who has read anything by Daphne Du Maurier. This may have changed given that Rebecca was recently included as one of the free books in the World Book Night give away.
Isn’t she a romantic novelist?
No. No, these are not romantic books. Yes, some of them may contain romance and some may deal with personal relationships. However, her writing is dark and there are no sugar coated, clichéd happy endings. All of the stories have much more depth and complexity than a simple boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love etc. Her subject matter involves smuggling, murder, drugs, fighting, incest and betrayals. She can stray into the fantastical sometimes (e.g. The Birds) but she manages to pull this off so well.
Won’t her books be old fashioned?
A good story well written can never be old fashioned.
Not everything that she has written is a brilliant work of literature, and I don’t expect that everyone who reads her will love her as much as I do. But I do think that everyone should give her a go. Writing and atmosphere creation as good as Du Maurier’s will always be relevant, and suitable for all audiences, I would say from late teens onwards.
For anyone reading Daphne Du Maurier for the first time, Rebecca is not necessarily the place to start. For an easier entrance into Du Maurier, I would recommend Frenchman’s Creek. This is the most romantic of her books, but it is also a real swashbuckling adventure in one carefree summer, set in her beloved Cornwall.