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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.
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In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles that of a fairy tale. Born into a family with a rich artistic and historical background, the daughter of a famous actor-manager, she was indulged as a child and grew up enjoying enormous freedom from financial and parental restraint. She spent her youth sailing boats, travelling on the Continent with friends, and writing stories. A prestigious publishing house accepted her first novel when she was in her early twenties, and its publication brought her not only fame but the attentions of a handsome soldier, Major (later Lieutenant-General Sir) Frederick Browning, who married her.Review:
"A good original novel, well tinged with nightmare."--"Times Literary Supplement"
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Book Description PENGUIN, 1970. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0140017232