Friday, December 11, 2009

That Old Cape Magic

I love Russo's writing, and his Empire Falls is one of my favorite books. But this book didn't wrap me up the way his others have. When I finished reading it, I figured out why. Russo's other books are set in towns that become as much a part of the story as any of the characters. I can see the towns as if I've lived there my entire life. And that's what's missing from this book. It is mostly set on Cape Cod, but not really in any one place. The story revolves around Griffin, his now-dead parents who still argue with him in his head, his estranged wife and their daughter, and their annual trips to Cape Cod. I liked the characters well enough, especially Griffin's caustic mother, but the book just doesn't have the spark that Russo's books usually have.

Although, the rehearsal dinner scene was one of the funniest I've ever read. Russo does have a talent for setting up absurdly funny situations.

Daphne du Maurier

I hadn't read du Maurier since high school, and twice in two weeks, someone mentioned Rebecca, so I grabbed a copy while I was at the used book store. And oh my gosh I forgot how good a book it is. Not only is the story suspenseful, it is so well written. I loved reading it so much that I went back to the store the next week and grabbed Jamaica Inn, and I loved it too. I couldn't stop reading it.

With both books, I remembered the basic plot lines, but I didn't remember the gasp-worthy shockers that both books have.

I was back at the book store last week, and I looked for more of du Maurier's novels (and show wrote a lot of them), but they didn't have any others in stock. I'm going to have to put in a request at the library.

One interesting fact, the house in Rebecca - Manderley - is based on a real estate in Cornwall called Menabilly, where du Maurier lived on and off. Du Maurier was able to rent Menabilly from the family that had owned it for generations, and she did a tremendous amount of work to restore it to its grandeur. You can find some pictures of it at