This week I’m reading Rebecca, the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier, in which a very young (and apparently nameless) narrator is swept off her feet by the dashing Maxim de Winter, quickly marries him, and goes off to live with him in his vast estate, Manderley, where it seems that―much like in the American South―the past is never really dead, and isn’t even past.
The weather was wet and cold for quite a week, as it often can be in the west country in the early summer, and we did not go down to the beach again. I could see the sea from the terrace, and the lawns. It looked gray and uninviting, great rollers sweeping into the bay past the beacon on the headland. I pictured them surging into the little cove and breaking with a roar upon the rocks, then running swift and strong to the shelving beach.
Hmm. Wet and cold for quite a week. Sounds like our house back in the mythical land of upstate New York, except for the “week” part. And of course for the presence of the sea, which would’ve had to work pretty hard to make it into the hills north of Utica.
Although I never read Rebecca before, I did read The Key to Rebecca, by Ken Follett, in which spies in the North African campaign during World War II use Rebecca as the basis for a cipher to secretly exchange information. But I read it so long ago I don’t remember too much of it, including which side was using the book. But I do remember that (spoiler alert!) the Germans spent a lot of time winning before they ended up losing.
Meanwhile, editing continues on Father’s Books! At this point things aren’t looking good for Our Heroes, just like things weren’t looking good for the Allies for quite a while during the aforementioned North African campaign. No doubt they, too, are hoping for a miraculous turnaround in their fortunes.
[He had been] dragged up a small, grassy slope to a tree-shrouded bank, where a concrete bench stood beneath overhanging branches. It was probably a delightful place to sit during the day, in the shade, with cool rough concrete beneath you and ducks paddling through the water. But now, at night, in the dark, it was a scene of lurking menace, the sort of place where young lovers might neck as a machete-wielding creep moved silently forward, intent on decapitating them both with a single swipe of his blade, sending their lip-locked heads bouncing and rolling and splashing into the water like a couple of bulbous rocks.
Ah, those machete-wielding creeps! Always hiding in the woods waiting for their chance to show teenagers what happens if they sneak off for some midnight nookie …