Monday, December 22, 2003

I haven't quite given up on Mary. I think I'll try and do a big push and finish it over my Christmas vacation. In the meantime though, I have finished The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier. This is only my second of her books, after Rebecca, which I read while on vacation in Hawaii a few years ago. Yeah, I know - not your typical beach read, but I loved it. Anyway. The Scapegoat was very good. The first person point of view enhances the disorientation felt by the main character, John, by keeping the reader in his same situation - that of not knowing anything about the family or situation through which he has to bluff. He gets caught up, and the reader does too, with first the suspense of deception and then with this family and trying to make things right with them. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending, which I kept thinking was going to turn violent but never did. I guess that's all my Hollywood thinking coming out. I could just see the script notes on an adaptation: "That's really, really great and I love what you've done with the character, but I think they should struggle for the gun at the foundry. Or, better yet, John should ambush Jean at Bela's house. We need a big finish, man!" The way it's written though, is much more realistic and almost depressing. There is a glimmer of hope in that change has already been set in motion, but it's bittersweet because you know there will still be so much unhappiness for that family in the future. And right there is the mark of a good novel - one in which the characters live on after the last page.

I've begun Smilla's Sense of Snow, which I read when it first came out (10 years ago!) but am reading again for my online book club.

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