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review 2016-10-27 16:20
Choose your own ending!
Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier

Because the one that du Maurier wrote sucks biomechanical donkey dicks.


I think I am bringing up the rear on this buddy read, so I'm going to be spoilery - although I will use spoiler tags, in case MBD's book ever shows up! 


So, to begin with a hyperbolic statement. Daphne du Maurier apparently thinks very little of men, and even less of women. I make this pronouncement with a sample size of two (Jamaica Inn and Rebecca). I am willing to continue research because du Maurier is a hell of a writer, but at this point, this is my thesis and I'm standing by it.


Allow me to explain. With one notable exception, every single male character of any importance in both Rebecca and Jamaica Inn is a worthless bag of dicks. I include Max de Winter in this, since he's a stone cold murderer. Joss is about as appealing as a rabid dog, and isn't just a stone cold murderer, he's a stone cold serial killer/spree killer. Jem is a horse thief and general wastrel. From Rebecca, the only other man of consequence was Rebecca's lover, and he was also a wastrel, although he never killed anyone, which makes him one of the better of the du Maurier men. 


And then we have the Vicar, a delicious, steaming pile of second-hand violence, seasoned with hypocrisy and a bit of kidnapping on the side.

(spoiler show)


If I'd were married to her, I'd be a bit insulted. The one decent male character in either book was the squire in Jamaica Inn, who actually seems to be sort of a stand up guy.


Then we talk about the women. Four women, three doormats. The only one with any backbone ends up being murdered by her husband (yes, Rebecca, I'm talking about you). Ugh.


So, ultimately, there were things about this book that I loved, but none of those things are the characters. I liked the atmosphere. I even liked the plot pretty well. I guessed the twist early on, but I thought it was well done. 


And then we come to the end. Worst ending ever. I reject that ending wholesale. In my ending, Mary Yellan sends Jem packing in his tinkers wagon, takes over the lease of Jamaica Inn and turns it into a well respected, comfortable place for travelers to spend a night.

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text 2016-10-18 20:57
Jamaica Inn: Updates
Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier

Page 1:


This book has a pair of absolutely fantastic beginning sentences! Some of the best I have ever read:


It was a cold gray day in late November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o’clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist.


How is that for scene setting? When the book begins, our heroine, Mary Yellin, is traveling along in a darkened coach, headed to Jamaica Inn. Du Maurier plunges us directly into the story, taking place under that "granite" sky.


I live in Oregon. I know a mizzling rain when I read about one!


This book walks right up to the edge of horror, and steps back into the category of suspense. 


"Respectable folk don’t go to Jamaica anymore. That’s all I know. In the old days we used to water the horses there, and feed them, and go in for a bit of a bite and drink. But we don’t stop there anymore. We whip the horses past and wait for nothing, not till we get to Five Lanes, and then we don’t bide long.”


“Why don’t folk go there? What is their reason?” Mary persisted.


The man hesitated; it was as though he were searching for words. “They’re afraid,” he said at last; and then he shook his head; he would say no more."


I read through chapter 5. Mary has just met Jem, brother of Joss Merlyn - the primary antagonist - who seems likely to be the love interest, although the first meeting demonstrated precious little reason for a woman to fall in love with him.


"Mary watched the little stinging rain blur the glass of the parlor window, and as she sat there, alone, with her chin in her hand, the tears ran down her cheeks in company with the rain. She let them fall, too indifferent to wipe them away, while the draft from the door she had forgotten to close ruffled a long torn strip of paper on the wall. There had once been a rose pattern, but it was now faded and gray, and the walls themselves were stained deep brown where the damp had turned them. Mary turned away from the window; and the cold, dead atmosphere of Jamaica Inn closed in upon her."


At this point, I finally had to shut down the kindle for the night, and go to sleep.

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