Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature, Day 3

Self took a walk to Bookends of Fowey, 4 South Street. And such a dear little bookshop it is. So many books, of so much variety, all found in one little corner of Fowey!


4 South Street, Fowey: Bookends

Self never forgets, not for one moment, that she is here because of Daphne du Maurier:


She’s made up her mind to buy one of the below. Not more than one because she is still traveling and it is a bear to tote books on/off buses and trains!


In keeping with the spirit of du Maurier, she thinks her one precious book purchase should be a novel. A novel by a woman.

On her Festival Survey Form, she only made one comment: Points for including such a variety of women authors. Keep it that way!

Stay tuned.

Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature, Day 2


Fowey: Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Have attended two talks, both of them brilliant. The one this morning was delivered by Kate Aspengren, an American playwright (from Iowa!): Where’s the Fire? A Playwright Considers the Plays of Daphne du Maurier.

Loved knowing about this other aspect of du Maurier. The woman tried her hand at everything: novels, short stories, plays — even poetry!

Aspengren talked about three du Maurier plays:

  • The Years Between (first staged 1944, in Manchester)
  • September Tide (first staged 1948, in Oxford)
  • her own adaptation of Rebecca

Because self has read Tatiana de Rosnay’s Manderley Forever (one of her favorite reads of 2018), she knows of Daphne’s fraught marriage. Her husband was General “Boy” Browning who was mentioned (not flatteringly lol) in the book self just finished reading, Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944. It was a very strained marriage, exacerbated by long absences. And du Maurier seems to have drawn on that for The Years Between.

As for September Tide, trust du Maurier to come up with this wickedly entertaining plot: A woman falls in love with her daughter’s husband. According to Aspengren, “the mother and son-in-law have an instant attraction to each other” despite an age gap of seven years.

Daphne du Maurier brings it.

Stay tuned.

Favorites So Far, September 2018

  • Moshi Moshi, by Banana Yoshimoto (novel)
  • La Belle Sauvage, vol. One of The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman, and His Dark Materials, the entire trilogy: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass (novels)
  • Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (novel)
  • The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson (novel)
  • In the Lake of the Woods, by Tim O’Brien (novel)
  • Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (novel in stories)
  • Manderley Forever, by Tatiana de Rosnay (novelized biography)
  • Jamaica Inn, by Daphne du Maurier (novel)

This was a great reading year for NOVELS. Which means self has come full circle in her reading life. Until this year, her favorite books were histories and nonfiction.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


My Cousin Rachel, Chapter V: Who Is Gaslighting Who?

Clever, clever Daphne du Maurier. She writes as though she had a Ph.D. in Psychology.

Oh, wait. She’s a writer. All writers know psychology. To a certain degree.

Self will not lie: the summer is over, and so many things demand her attention. How she loved reading like nothing else mattered. She read Jamaica Inn in a perfect cone of concentration.

Here in Ch. V, dear, misguided Philip Ashley, having no inkling of the train that is coming to bear down on him, meets Signor Rainaldi for the first time, and doesn’t quite trust him. Signor Rainaldi has just strongly hinted that he thinks Philip should return home to England instead of poking about Florence for answers that will never come. Philip rather unwisely reveals his worries to this complete stranger:

“These two letters,” I said stubbornly, “are not the letters of a sick man, of a person ill. They are the letters of a man who has enemies, who is surrounded by people he cannot trust.”

Signor Rainaldi watched me steadily.

“They are the letters of a man who was sick in mind, Mr. Ashley,” he answered me. “Forgive my bluntness, but I saw him those last weeks, and you did not. The experience was not a pleasant one for any of us, least of all for his wife. You see what he says in that first letter there, that she did not leave him. I can vouchsafe for that. She did not leave him night or day. Another woman would have had nuns to tend him. She nursed him alone, she spared herself nothing.”

“Yet it did not help him,” I said. “Look at the letters, and this last line, ‘She has done for me at last, Rachel my torment . . . ‘ What do you make of that, Signor Rainaldi?”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



My Cousin Rachel, Ch. IV

The callow young nephew is off to Florence (his first trip to Italy) and this sentence perfectly captures his confusion:

  • Used to the silence of a well-nigh empty house — for the servants slept away in their own quarters beneath the clock tower — where I heard no sound at night but the wind in the trees and the lash of rain when it blew from the southwest, the ceaseless clatter and turmoil of foreign cities came near to stupefying me.

Beautiful sentence, where it starts and where it ends is a complete arc. It is so balanced.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Seeking Comfort Again From a Woman Writer

Lately, self has found comfort — great comfort — from reading Daphne du Maurier. A woman whose life self instinctively understands (Thank you again to Tatiana de Rosnay for writing Manderley Forever, which led to her discovery of the writing of du Maurier)

This evening, though, she’s reading a quote from Gail Godwin, a writer whose work self has read, but not in recent decades:

  • This account of my unfolding as a writer has been the truth. But it is also full of lies, many of which I’m not aware. But in one sense, perhaps the most important, it is all true. It could have been written by nobody but me. What I have chosen to tell, how I have chosen to tell it, and what I have chosen not to tell, expresses me and the kind of writer I am.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Delights of Beginning a new du Maurier

The seven-year-old’s guardian has taken him to gawk at the body of a hanged man. It’s been four weeks, self can only imagine the smell.

She’s still only on p. 1 of My Cousin Rachel:

“There you are, Philip,” he said. “It’s what we all come to in the end. Some upon a battlefield, some in bed, others according to their destiny. There’s no escape. You can’t learn the lesson too young. But this is how a felon dies.”


Kudos, Daphne du Maurier. So many kudos.

Stay tuned.

Once Again, a du Maurier Story

Self wonders if she took 10 days (longer than her usual) to get through Would Everybody Stop? because she so loved the feeling of knowing My Cousin Rachel was up next.

Anyhoo, here she is, on p. 1!

And God she loves the du Maurier world, a world where even a man hanging dead for three weeks earns this description: “The rain had rotted his breeches, if not his body, and strips of worsted drooped from his swollen limbs like pulpy paper.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

My Cousin Rachel: First Sentence

Self is thrilled, absolutely thrilled to begin her third du Maurier novel: My Cousin Rachel.

The ‘woke’ first sentence:

  • They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days.


Stay tuned.


My Cousin Rachel, The Door

Almost to the end of Jenny Allen’s Would Everybody Please Stop?

It’s been a very enjoyable read. Humor — don’t we all need it?

Self was supposed to read My Cousin Rachel right after she finished Jamaica Inn but Jamaica Inn left her nerves in tatters, so she decided to go for light reading, then return to My Cousin Rachel.

After My Cousin Rachel is The Door, by Magda Szabo. Self knows almost nothing about this book, so she decided to look up some reviews on goodreads. And here’s a sentence about what The Door is about:

  • A stylishly told tale which recounts a strange relationship built up over 20 years between a writer and her housekeeper.

My goodness! Magda Szabo got away with writing about that? It could almost be a du Maurier, except that The Door doesn’t sound as if there are any men in it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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