All he ever did in life was watch people, never partake in their happiness or pain. No family, no ties, no entanglements, no friends, nothing infinitely precious.
But where John's life was drearily detached, Jean's was over-encumbered by the ties John lacked - a warring family, an ailing business, a sordid past.
When they came face to face, Jean could not resist the opportunity to escape the trials of his messy existence. John, driven into the deception, faces the horror of his altar-ego's careless cruelty as he is drawn helplessly into a web of lies - and of love.
©1957 Daphne du Maurier Browning (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Classics,contemporary fiction, Politics, Philosophy, Economics - a weekly eye on The New Yorker & The Guardian and dense word style/play.
Having been enthused by Rebecca and starting the opening chapters on the road to Manderley, I completed this one at an altogether slower pace over the course of a couple of long trips and some snatched glances in between times.
The quality of the writing here is of a much higher standard than the earlier du Maurier work that I worked through. The early chapters, actually, put me in mind of Beckett - each of the pieces of the narrative being laid out like a mathematical puzzle to great effect. In truth the narrative does eventually wander, but through the early opening runs I was taken along willingly and enjoyably, anticipating every twist and turn and believing each new piece put in front of me.
Towards the end it all gets a bit Graham Greene, if you know what I mean. No bad thing though and certainly giving lie to the idea that the author is in any way narrow or limited. Quite the opposite, in fact, I think on this showing, she deserves more serious recognition that the gift buyings in seaside Fowey might credit her with.
Worth the effort of sticking with through the later meanderings, because it all works out worthwhiledly in the end.
Really recommend. What would you do if you met a stranger who stole your identity and left you with his. Really interesting characters and beautiful description and moments of intense suspense.
"Yet to be disappointed by DuMaurier"
Rebecca is still the pinnacle, but this one is excellent. Good story of a "mistaken" identity type that leads to more. Even when DuMaurier is writing more of a Romance type, which this is not, this is more of a mystery story, she is still a very good writer, not clunky like so many now. I have read/listened to many of hers and enjoyed them all, Hungry Hill and Mary Ann being least favorite so far. But I recommend this one to people after Rebecca, and then probably My Cousin Rachael.
If you want car chases look elsewhere, DuMaurier always leans heavily toward the character side and immerses you in her world.
"storytelling at its best"
Fascinating story , draws you in, never lets you go. Sorry when it ended. Actor reading it was perfect
"THE UNBELIEVABLE IS BELIEVABLE"
It seems impossible that an author could make one believe that a 'doppelganger' could so easily assume the role of another. How does an imposter play the role of father, brother and son, sign papers and so quickly 'know' the detail and history of a whole family? Ask du Maurier... This book could be viewed as bordering on science fiction. But no...the writing skill of this accomplished author makes the whole absurd situation quite believable. The work of a true master spoils the reader - makes one wish she was still alive and writing - to spare one from the modern cardboard characters in unbelievable, absurd situations...This was my second time around with The Scapegoat. I read it 40 years ago - enjoyed it as much now as then. And the narration was EXCELLENT. Vale!
"Deception and redemption"
A mere spectator in his own life, John encounters Jean, his doppleganger, who is desperately trying to manage his own messy and overwheliming life. Jean escapes, essentially thrusting John into his (Jean's) identity against his will. But to John's surprise, he finds he's pretty good at the deception, and is becoming both facinated and obsessed with the situation. Without tipping his hand, John deftly elicits needed information from family, neighbors and business associates using his wits, his instincts and more than a little luck. Mistakes are made, but explanations are found, most often by those who are being fooled.
DuMaurier goes beyond the conventional Hollywood doubles-exchanging-roles farce, and through John's own thoughts asks us to consider the ethics of interfering with lives without the responsibility of having to live with the consequences. Can he make changes in relationships and family dynamics and still remain an uninvolved spectator? To masquerade as Jean will he have to behave in ways that conflict with his own morals? Can he remain innocent of actions that he performs in the name of another man? John realizes the irony of getting his wish - he finds involvement and connection in his life, but it's not his life. What would be wrong with claiming it anyway since Jean has so obviously given it to him? The resolution of these questions is masterful.
Well written, well read, well recommended.
Yes, I have listened to it a couple times and always find it intriguing. Ms. Du Maurier covered all the bases when it came to the pitfalls of one man masquerading as another. the only one she couldn't resolve was the master's dog.
The main character, John, who handled the situation so wisely.
This is one of DuMaurier's best stories and I wish it could be made into a film
Wonderful, original suspense/mystery! Good performance. du Maurier is the original master of this genre. Hitchcock got it all from her! Well worth the credits/money.
"OK, but not her best"
I am a huge fan of Daphne du Maurier, but this one was just OK. du Maurier has a certain fresh way of painting a scene and that is still here in parts, but the story lagged some for me. The basic plot isn't bad. Glad I read it, though.
"A good story depicting how different people react"
Yes! I enjoyed how a man that had no interest in life fell into a dysfuntiional family and cured some of its ills.
Can't think of the man that was duped but I thought his reaction to being put into a very difficult situation was admirable.
I enjoyed the accents and the change of voice with the different characters.
no, I don't sit that long to read or listen - I enjoyed listening to it while working on a craft project
"What if this could really happen? Fascinating!"
I love her books. They're so intensely deep and thought-provoking. Narration was perfect. Not long after I listened to this on audio the movie aired on TV! What a pleasant but disappointing surprise because the movie didn't follow the books ending. Still..... Very enjoyable and engrossing read! No spoilers .... Just sit back and prepare to be fully entertained and captivated.
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