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“The eternal fascinating of the theme of two people who are identical in looks and as different in character as can be - the scoundrel robs the gentleman scholar and the latter has nothing possible but to assume the life of the former for now, and then the scoundrel returns when he has destroyed...”see full review » see other reviews »
“This ended up being a better book than it appeared that it would be. But I also should have known better; DuMaurier has earned her reputation many times over. In the story two men who happen to appear top be identical meet, and in a trick the one forces the other to take over his identity. Thestory is slow in building, but Du Maurier's prose makes it worth going through it. The twists and turns in the last hundred pages makes it worth the wait.”David the Librarian wrote this review Wednesday, January 23, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“As usual, Daphne delivers a timeless story with intricate detail and a plot that will have you guessing until the end. ”Phoebe M wrote this review Wednesday, November 7, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Never, never, never read the foreward. I usually don't, but for some unexplicable reason read it this time. It simply spoiled all the fun since I knew what would happen. I strongly suspect this would have been a splendid read otherwise. DuMaurier is an expert at suspense, and the plot, which involves doubles who switch lives, should have been a doozy.”Lady Dixie wrote this review Sunday, September 30, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Brilliant build-up of tension. ”Grace-Elisa wrote this review Sunday, July 1, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved this story from the first sentance to the very last. If this is romantic fiction, and i am told it is, then it rivals the work of the Bronte's and Jane Austen. This romance rides a dark horse.”Russell Duffy wrote this review Wednesday, July 4, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What would you do if you came face to face with yourself?
Two men, one a rather shabby French aristocrat called Jean, and the other a down-at-heel English teacher of French history called John, meet by chance in France. John longs for a life so different to his own; Jean has all the ties and responsibilities John has never known; a crumbling family business, a sick mother, a dependent wife and child, and a reputation.
John and Jean also happen to be identical. Wishing to escape the tangled mess of his home life, Jean wines and dines his new found friend before leaving him drunk in a cheap hotel. The Englishman wakes up, wearing Jean’s clothes and with Jean’s papers. Understandably annoyed John finds himself almost against his will - and then with increasing relish and delight - playing the part of the French aristocrat: living in his house, being the head of the family, and running his double's business and entertaining his double's array of mistresses.
Could two men really be so identical that even their mother, wife and daughter can't tell the difference?
As a plot device it's fascinating and du Maurier makes full use of the possibilities the storyline gives her. The French household which formerly had a swaggering bully at its head now has a sensitive and uncertain imposter pulling the strings and attempting to work out the past of the man whose role he has taken.
When you look at the premise for The Scapegoat it really shouldn't work, but such is du Maurier's skill as a writer, and such is her complete control of character and plot that the reader never once pauses to question the plausibility of what is going on.
Every character is well-drawn and memorable. Jean's mother is doped-up to her eyeballs; his wife is sweet but easily manipulated; his sister, for reasons which only gradually emerge, refuses to talk to him while his brother understandably hates him because Jean appears to be having an affair with his wife. Finally, to cap it all, Jean's daughter suffers from religious visions and threatens to throw herself from one of the top floor windows every time she doesn't get her way.
Brilliant though it is, Rebecca casts such a long shadow over the rest of Daphne du Maurier’s work. It's easy to think of her as just a writer of gothic romance but she isn't and this book proves that she has plenty to say about the human condition. Apart from being an atmospheric and well written thriller the book has a number of philosophical questions to ask about the nature of self and the different perspectives we all bring to the same situation. Above all it's about the choice we all have to do good or evil in our lives. It never at any point gets bogged down in what it is trying to say. A deftly written well told story that shows you don't have to sacrifice content, character and storytelling on the altar of style and structure to make a point.
“Review: The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier. A great story. After one chapter I realized what the ending would entail. It was obviously what would happen to Jene De Gue and John. I just couldn’t expect any other ending. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion if you read the book.
I still planned to read on. It turned out to be a well written story. It kept my interest to the very end. As I turned the pages there was always something knew to find out. Plus, all the character’s had their own main qualities associated within the story. The author created distinct temperaments and characteristic’s for each character, right down to the worker’s.
It was an adventure to read through and summarize reasons John’s gave the answers he did to many questions the family and friends afflicted upon him. For not anyone he did a great job figuring things out. If John spoke with an unnatural thought or behaved awkward nobody thought wrong of it, it was just that nobody really listened or cared to what he had to say. However if he did something wrong or in bad taste he was sure to get an ear full of disgrace.
I think Jean De Gue did care about some things in his own way. I keep imaging him as a care free guy with no worries in the world. His family had many faults of their own. They were a mixed up bunch of people who were trying to keep history in play and their noses in the air. The daughter, Marie-Noel and the Cure seemed to have some kind of instinct of trouble in the mist of aura when it came to Jean and John.
It was a shame that the author had to split the two men up at the end. I really liked both Jean and John. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to others to read.
“Really good read. Du Maurier has such a descriptive way of writing that makes even a novel without much of a plot really interesting and unique. All the characters were so well written and had so much depth. ”Rachael M wrote this review Tuesday, March 29, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“They say that everyone has a double.
John finds his in a train station buffet bar while on a trip to France. It's like looking in a mirror. his doule's n is Jean De Gue. It's a surreal experience and the only way of dealing with it is for them both to get blindingly drunk. John awakes in the morning to find himself alone in a hotel room, his clothes, his wallet, all his possessions gone and in thier place he finds those of Jean De Gue. His identity has been stolen and it seems his only option is to steal the straners' right back.
In stepping into this person's shoes he finds himself to be a French Count. An owner of a business, a father, a husband, a brother, a son. All these things Jean De Gue has left behind and all of them seem to be in somewhat of a mess. Although he only knew this person for 24 hours it seems ridiculously easy to srtep into this man's life. Even when he glibely tells them the truth nobody believes him and it seems that he has a certain freedom while assuming this character. He can say js about anything and here is no risk of him being found out.
What's most intriguing about this book is how John discovers the relationships tha his double has with certain members of the family. He's feeling his way around, trying to discover just how he fits in this family, the house, the local community, the business. One thing that John gives to the character he is playing is morality, and slowly the two characters begin to mould into one. Strangly enough he begins to feel a sense of responibility towards the people around him, as if he really is Jean De Gue and he starts to make changes and try to put things right. After what seems like a lifetime but is in reality is only a week it feels lie is is his life, and the John he's left behind fades into the shadows.
Then, when a tragedy strikes and rocks the family he recieves a surruptitious phone call. It's Jean De Gue, and he wants his life back.
This really is a page turner and it's compelling to see how this man copes when he steps into another's skin. I'm a big fan of Daphne Du Maurier and for me personally this is up there with Rebecca as one of her best. A must read for Du Maurier fans. Highly recommended.”
“This is the story of what happens when two men who happen to look and sound alike trade places. One is unhappy with his life primarily due to loneliness and is seriously considering joining a monastery. The other is unhappy because he is smothered from caring for others. The situations of the men made the lonely one depressed while causing the other to be bitter and to strike back at those he loved.
British writer Daphne du Maurier, who lived from 1907 to 1989, wrote novels, short stories, plays, biographies, as well as non-fiction books and articles. Scapegoat was published in 1957, and not one I would have read if it hadn't been a selection made by the book club I belong to. Not because it didn't sound interesting, but because there are many newer books I haven't read. However, I'm glad I read it. In fact, I think I'll read some of her other books. Rebecca or My Cousin Rachel, to name a couple.
The premise seems improbable at first glance, but not so far out that it bothered me while reading the book. Many times I've spotted a face in the crowd, especially while traveling, of someone I recognize only to find it is a stranger. On at least two occasions the resemblance was so strong I considered asking the person to let me take a photo to show their so-called twin. I didn't, but only due to my shyness.
Scapegoat is well crafted and I fear I can't tell you much about it without spoiling it for you. As I read, I thought of many enjoyable paths the story could take and I cheerfully waited to see which one the author decided on.
John, a 38-year-old Englishman, is a historian who studies in France and teaches in England. He is fluent in the language and customs. His parents have died and he has no family. He is depressed and lonely, and so unhappy with his life in general, he is considering dropping out. The story begins in Le Mans, and John has his map marked to show how to get to a nearby monastery.
While walking on the street, he is mistaken for someone else. Soon he runs into Jean de Gué and learns they look and sound alike. They drink and talk about their lives. Before the evening is up, they end up in an inn where Jean gets John drunk and takes off with his clothes, car and identity. John is awaken the next day by Jean's chauffer who is there to take him home.
At first John thinks it is a joke. Then he gets mad. Finally, he decides Jean did it for him, John, so that he could experience a better life. John isn't sure what to do, but he goes with the chauffer to Jean's home where he learns Jean had lived with his wife, Françoise, his brother, Paul, Paul's wife, René, his sister, Blanche, his mother, and his daughter, Marie-Noel. No one notices John is not Jean. At one point John tells some of the family who he is, but they ignore him. Only the dogs know the truth.
After dark, John decides to leave, but goes back to keep Jean's daughter from jumping out window. With time, John realizes Jean is more of a failure than he is. The next day he decides to stay because it is amusing. Later, he feels shame after getting to know the people in Jean's life. Although John knows nothing about the business Jean managed, and little about the family members John makes several changes that affect the lives of the family members in a positive way.
There are more ups and downs in this fast-paced story, but that's all I want to say so that you'll enjoy this book as much as I did.